For Jilian Tai Ju-En, being a champion is not about being better than everyone else, but it is all about spirit.
Whether it's pursuing her passion at a global top 1% university, or emerging with her frisbee team as Pool B Champions at the Malaysia University Ultimate Championships 2019, it was her determination to take challenges head-on and bounce back on her feet each time that made it possible.
Joining MCKL in early 2019, convinced by its affordable fees and strong reputation, Jilian embarked on the AUSMAT programme with the intention of studying further in Australia. She found the campus conducive to her studies, and her lecturers able to teach with great clarity. AUSMAT being a somewhat intensive programme, employing a "continuous assessment" style with frequent coursework, MCKL's comfortable and distraction-free spaces were especially ideal. And with capable lecturers, she no longer needed to spend extra on private tuition.
Facing the struggles common to any pre-university student, Jilian nevertheless saw her studies as an opportunity. She trained herself to improve her time management and no longer leave things to the last minute. She sought out a group of peers who would encourage each other to grow. Plus, she soon saw that college life was not just about studying, but also developing as a robust and societally-aware person. In the end, Jilian achieved ATAR 97.85, making her MCKL's top scorer for 2019.
Yet, her college life was far from being perennially waist-deep in work. Outside of her classes, she took advantage of the campus' prominent sports field to play ultimate frisbee with "The Mutants"—MCKL's vivacious student frisbee team.
The story of how the Mutants became Pool B Champions is an illuminating one. Rather than setting sights on the championship from day one, they played for fun first and foremost. The idea of competing nationally and winning was, at most, a half-serious challenge. The Mutants were nevertheless open to whatever may come of it, and after winning several games, the team began to grow in confidence. More and more, it was starting to seem like a real possibility. With enthusiastic training but always with a light heart, Jilian and her team played their way to victory at the Malaysia University Ultimate Championships 2019.
It was the same spirit of openness and resilience that inspired her to study physiotherapy at Curtin University Australia. Jilian's experiences with sports-related injuries, especially the trying process of gradual recovery, gave her a deep understanding of the physical and psychological struggles a patient may face. Injuries are almost a guarantee in an active, sports-heavy lifestyle. But physiotherapy, beyond its physical treatment, also concerns the attitude one takes towards these momentary setbacks and sufferings: how do you pick yourself up, be patient with yourself in recovery, and then get ready for the next challenge? With her rich experiences in college and her newly-begun degree programme in Australia, Jilian feels that she can help people answer these questions accurately.