Shasindran Subramaniam

Nilai U engineering student finds release valve in the Theatre and Acting module.

“With my mechanical engineering programme, it was just classes followed by tons of assignments. You could say the whole teaching process is pretty regimented and the subject is fairly logical with heavy workload, as expected in an engineering programme. It was becoming quite stressful until I walked into the Introduction to Theatre and Acting class,” admits Shasindran Subramaniam who is currently pursuing a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering (Hons) at Nilai University (Nilai U). Sashi (as he is known to his friends) was referring to the university courses that all degree students at Nilai U are required to take. He had opted to do Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Philosophy, and was quite keen to enrol in the Dale Carnegie Skills for Success course. But alas, the Dale Carnegie course was full and he then decided to opt for the Introduction to Theatre and Acting module.

Co-ordinated by veteran thespian Mano Maniam, Shasi was extremely surprised by the manner in which the classes were conducted. “There are no books or assignments. Students just need to turn up, absorb the lesson and enjoy themselves. It was a fantastic release valve from the pressure of pursuing an engineering degree,” exclaims Shasi. “You could say that this module has given me a second wind and I feel much more rejuvenated for my engineering classes.” In line with its motto of Enrichment For Life, Nilai U degree students are required to complete soft skills courses unrelated to their core field of studies to help broaden their horizons and to shape them into well-rounded individuals.

Sashi certainly feels that he has benefitted greatly from these courses, in particular the Theatre and Acting course. “It has filled me with confidence when previously I was quite reserved and had difficulty socialising. I now have plenty of friends and it is because the module helped me open up and be more confident,” he says. “The Theatre and Acting module is so much more than what its name implies. We are taught meditation and philosophy. It is critical thinking, presentation skills and personal development rolled into one fun package.”

The eldest of three children, the 25-year-old is now in his third year of his four-year degree programme having received an exemption from the first year with his Diploma in Mechanical Engineering qualifications from Nilai U. Sashi says he opted the diploma route for several reasons. Firstly, he says that it is more cost effective to take this route. Secondly, he says that having decided to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering; he wanted a programme that would give him a solid foundation. “Compared to a pre-university programme, the diploma programme will cover many areas which will appear in the degree programme’s syllabus. I am familiar with many of the subjects and areas being covered in the degree programme right now,” he explains.  Thirdly, having a diploma allows a student to take a break after 2.5 years whereas an engineering student taking up a pre-university programme followed by the degree will have to slog through five years of hard study.  Last but not least, Sashi says starting with a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering means he already has a qualification which allows him to find work, if the need arises.

The former SMK (L) Bukit Bintang, Petaling Jaya student is full of praise for Nilai U lecturers. “They are really helpful and friendly but they do not spoon feed us. They actively encourage us to find the solutions ourselves,” he states. As for Nilai U itself, Sashi says there are few, if any, institutions that offer engineering programmes at such competitive prices. “This is a real university with a beautiful campus. It has great facilities and the engineering programmes are recognised by the government as well as the relevant engineering regulatory bodies,” he says. “That alone should compel school leavers and their parents to check Nilai U out.”

Nilai U was established in 1997 and is located in the picturesque suburb of Putra Nilai, just 35-minutes south of Kuala Lumpur City Centre. For more information, please go to or search for ‘Nilai University’ on Facebook. To speak to a counsellor, kindly call 06-8502308 / 07-2262336.