A Peek Behind the Lectern Series by GIS Higher Education Department and Alumni Office!

Organised by GIS Higher Education Counsellor Mr Sam Wickham, our senior students recently enjoyed online sessions with 19 Alumni who generously gave up their time to share their journey after GIS, experiences of working life, and general life lessons. 


We would like to thank our GIS Alumni for sharing their first-hand experiences and advice from around the world during our ‘A Peek Behind the Lectern’ Series. Our Alumni shared their experiences of living and studying at different universities, offering some hints and tips to our students who might be thinking about studying there. They discussed reasons for choosing a university or study destination and whether it has lived up to their initial expectations. If you were not able to attend, feel free to watch the recorded sessions for different universities around the world via these links:. 


Mr Sam Wickham, Higher Education Counsellor at GIS

As a relatively new member of staff, I hadn’t had the pleasure of working directly with most of our Alumni speakers. However, it is clear that they were all broadly content with their choices of study destination and the experiences they had so far. It was wonderful to hear them speak of the high and lows of transitioning to higher education, and the enthusiasm they have for their chosen pathway. We talk about the idea of “passion” a lot at GIS, and all of the alumni spoke of this being a primary driver in their decision making. This shone through on screen and in their words. A huge thank you to all the Alumni for taking part; it’s always brilliant to connect with them and learn more about the institutions they represent.


Sarah Jabir, Class of 2015

“If I had the opportunity to speak to a younger version of myself back in Year 12 or 13, I’d really just tell myself one thing in terms of my future: don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone’s on a different life path, and it’s important to remember that yours is no less important or meaningful than anyone else’s regardless of which university you go to or what degree you choose to do (or whether you choose to go to university at all!). Do what you want to do, and not what you think you should do because everyone else is doing it. Comparison really is the thief of joy! Everything will seem slightly daunting in the beginning, but it’ll all work itself out with time. Just focus on improving yourself day by day, so that regardless of what life path you take, you’ll do just fine.”


Daniel Watson, Class of 2018

“It was great to speak with those who are in the midst of making their university choices! When I was in their shoes, I didn’t really have that opportunity, so I was happy to pass on my experience and hopefully it can help. Alumni exposure can be useful for students to receive advice as we’ve already been through it, so we can hopefully help them make more informed decisions. For me, the main thing is to have a good idea of the kind of place you want to study – whether it’s at a city or campus university. It’s important to research the place you’ll be living in for a few years because it’s not just about the studying, it’s also the wider student experience you’ll have.”


Farah Jabir, Class of 2016

“After the zoom session, I couldn’t help but reflect on the period of time when I was applying to university. Today, I wish so deeply that 17 year old me would have realised that no matter what option or path for tertiary education (be it scholarly or not) that I chose to go with, I would have been alright no matter the outcome. I took such a long time to decide where I wanted to go and what passion I wanted to pursue because I knew how risky a career in film was. This feeling was incredibly valid, but also in some sense, somewhat misguided. I think a lot of us feel at that age that there are right and wrong ways to do things or set outcomes to success when in fact, that is such a flawed concept; there is no singular way to do anything. I wished I had realised that sooner. A lot of GIS students are filled with so much passion and drive. I truly believe that we are capable of whatever we set our minds to and, more than anything, I hope through the chaos of university applications, A level exams, acceptances and rejections, that the students will remember that they will be alright too.”


Russel Chia, Class of 2019

“As a representative of an alumni that attends a North American University, I am glad that I was able to talk about my experience so far and what I hope to achieve in the future. It was inspiring to see that there are more students that are interested in attending North American Universities than ever before and I hope that it continues to increase! I would like to thank the GIS alumni department and Mr Wickham especially for letting me be transparent about my university experience from the good, the bad and the ugly. Remember that you’re not in this alone; use the resources the school has to offer and don’t be shy to ever text and ask any alumni questions or for help. I wish all the best to those that decide to apply to Universities in North America; you guys have got this!”


Sally Oh Yea Won, Class of 2015

“The main takeaway from the event for me was that I really appreciated the opportunity to talk to younger GIS students and have the chance to share a few words of encouragement as I know how difficult and confusing university selection can be. I hope that anyone who is interested in attending university in HK can approach me anytime with any questions!”


Cathleen Lee, Class of 2017

“I still remember being in my final year of A-Levels, applying for universities, feeling incredibly nervous and uncertain. Speaking to students reminded me of how much I appreciated the guidance I received from my teachers, peers, and honestly, anyone willing to help. Keep up the good work with inviting alumni to speak and allowing them to share their experiences with the next generation of leaders. I hope to one day be able to support someone else, the way I was supported back then.”


Riddhi Mittal, Class of 2015

“For a less popular path like hospitality, alumni exposure acts as a key informative tool that students should make the most of. The only advice I would like to give everyone is to reach out and make the most of your resources; it will only help you to make the best choice.”


A huge ‘Thank You’ to these inspiring Alumni, who generously shared their time and experiences with our Year 12 students virtually, despite their busy daily schedules. If you are interested in sharing your journey post-GIS, then please get in touch with us at alumni@gardenschool.edu.my

We are always updating our page with news from the Alumni community across the continents and would love to hear from you and share your stories. Please get in touch via Facebook, LinkedIn or simply send an email to alumni@gardenschool.edu.my.  We can’t wait to hear from you!