Job Boniface Chong
Young Sabahan student takes first step towards fulfilling ambition to be Biotechnologist
“Brewing is one of the oldest examples of biotechnology, so you could say those monks who made wine and other liquors to be among the earliest biotechnologists!” laughs Job Boniface Chong. The young lad who hails from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah was talking about what motivated him to move from home to study at Nilai University (Nilai U). It is indeed his dream to gain a degree in Biotechnology and he had jokingly pointed to the experiments of friars from bygone years as an inspiration.
“Jokes aside, biology and chemistry are my two favourite subjects in school and I had done some research online. Biotechnology was one of the programmes that caught my eye,” says Job. Further investigation convinced Job that the best route into this field of study was via a pre-university programme like the Foundation in Science, which he is enrolled in. Job admits that one of the main reasons he decided to apply to institutions in the Peninsula is because he wanted to be independent and learn how to live outside the comforts of home. Not that he has too much to complain about at Nilai U, with the on campus accommodation very much to his satisfaction. He also says that the peaceful and quiet environment is ideal for the pursuit of higher education. Job has an older brother studying in a big city campus and says a scenario of having to deal with traffic jams and higher living expenses is not his cup of tea.
Although he has just joined Nilai U, Job’s timetable is already quite full. Besides classes, Job is part of the organising committee for the Orientation programme. “We will be staging a play for the Orientation Night and I have been tasked with providing the narration,” he says, eyes twinkling with excitement. Apart from the many activities that have been planned for the Orientation week, Job is also looking forward to checking out the many clubs and societies on campus. He is thinking of joining the Computer club and the Christian Youth club. “I am not very active in sports but this might change here as there are many sporting clubs and also great facilities on campus,” he declares.
Job opted for the Foundation route into the degree programme, instead of diploma (where diploma holders will join the degree programme in the second year), is down to his desire to join the workforce as quickly as possible. “Many seniors tell me that diploma holders adapt faster to the degree because they are familiar with many of the modules, I decided against it as it as this route is longer and costs more,” he explains. “Furthermore, I want a degree, so there is a little point for me to gain a diploma which I am not going to use.” He also cites Nilai U’s track record of getting students into top biotechnology companies for their industrial placement as another key reason. Couple this with Nilai U’s competitive tuition fees and Job says the choice becomes that much clearer.
When asked what advice he has for current SPM students, Job cites three guiding principals. “This may sound obvious, but always pay attention in class. Students who do that will naturally find that they remember stuff easier when revising. Secondly, do not be afraid to ask questions. It is the best way to learn. Thirdly, regularly conduct study groups. Your friends can act as catalyst for you to do better in your exams,” he advices. At the moment, Job is just concentrating on getting a high CGPA in his Foundation in Science programme to allow him to pursue his ambition of becoming a biotechnologists. When asked if he wishes to emulate the aforementioned friars and join a brewery, he laughs and declares himself to be tee-total.
Nilai U was established in 1997 and all of its programmes are validated by the Ministry of Education and accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency. For more information, please go to www.nilai.edu.my or call 06-8502308 / 07-2262336 / 03-79603089.