Siti Faihah Shamsul

Student looking to be a dietician joins Nilai U’s Foundation in Science programme to fast track her into a degree.

“I have seen my parents having to pop all sorts of medications all day long due to ailments brought about by poor eating habits. That is what spurred my interest in subjects such as food science and make me want to become a dietician,” explains Siti Faihah Shamsul. “I think we Malaysians need to re-think our dietary practices. The food may be irresistible but I want to educate people on better eating habits.”

The well spoken lass is currently enrolled in Nilai University’s Foundation in Science programme as she says she is looking for the fastest route into a degree. The determination in the 17-year-old’s voice is palpable and her straight-A-pluses in four O-levels are proof of her academic endeavour. This academic excellence has earned her a High Achiever Scholarship from Nilai University (Nilai U) covering 100% of her tuition and accommodation fees.

A daughter of a Ministry of Tourism official based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Siti attended the Al-Waha International School. She admits to being a little overwhelmed at having to adjust to her new environment in Nilai University. For starters, Al-Waha is an all-girls and she admits to feeling a little strange initially in a co-ed setting. Also, being the youngest in her class was unsettling and her classmates seem to be able to absorb the lessons easier than I do. “However, I am adjusting as my classmates treat me as an equal and I am making new friends here,” she smiles.

Having spent most of her teenage years in Saudi Arabia, Siti is also finding it a little difficult readjusting to the humidity of her homeland. “People are surprised I find the weather here unbearable. In Jeddah, it is hot but not humid like here,” she explains. Despite the weather, Siti is finding that a shortcut route to a degree means having the ability to understand and absorb lessons quickly. She says most days are spent going through the lessons and she spends many hours into the wee hours finishing her course work and projects. “The extra workload is to be expected. I am now in a university and not high school. It is only going to get heavier as I progress further in my studies,” she accepts.

Though her dad is a veteran of the tourism industry and her family has travelled extensively, she says her father has not applied any pressure to follow in his footsteps. Neither has her mum who is a former nurse. “Both my parents have left me to decide on my future though they have cautioned me not to narrow my choices so early on. They have advised me to also look at Nilai U’s Degree in Biotechnology and, maybe even, the Degree in Biomedical Science as a means of achieving my ambition,” she says.

Her parents are keen that she remain in Nilai U as they chose the university because it is just a short drive away from the family home in Sepang, Selangor. It is her first time away from her parents and she goes home every weekend. In the meantime, she appreciates the lecturers’ efforts in always being available to students. “The lecturers are great. They are happy to help us along with any problems we have with our studies,” she says. “I would certainly recommend Nilai U’s Foundation programmes to anyone who is ready to work hard and is serious about getting into a degree of their choice in the fastest way possible.”

Nilai U is located in the picturesque suburb of Putra Nilai, just 35-minutes south of Kuala Lumpur City Centre and just 15-minutes away from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It received full ‘university’ status last year from the Ministry of Higher Education and is rated Setara 5 (Excellent) by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.