– The Penangite
This week we met up with alumni student Yik Khai Yew (’21), who joined ISKL in Grade 11 for the IBDP, after completing his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or the Malaysian Certificate of Education at an all-boys public school in Penang.
Yik Khai who earned a perfect score of 45 points on the International Baccalaureate (IB) is currently pursuing his economics degree at the University of British Columbia in Canada and, before that, was working on a few side projects, music, and an internship!
Here is his story
Taking the IB
“Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect of learning at ISKL, let alone the IB, because the school system I came from was so different. Lessons were more lecture-style and content-focused compared to how ISKL emphasizes discussions and the actual learning process. I feel fortunate to have experienced both methods as I believe they complement each other well. For the IB, I prepared by identifying my interests and letting curiosity drive me.
‘Online school is nowhere as fun or productive, especially in the middle of the IBDP. You would have to constantly communicate with your teachers for Internal Assessments (IA) and the Extended Essays (EE). It was a shame that we had video demonstrations and online simulations instead of hands-on lab experiences. But the support offered by our teachers was phenomenal, even though they were just as unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the pandemic as we are. I think we, as a cohort, made the most of what we had!
‘My words of advice for students who are taking the IB is to identify your interests and use them to your advantage, especially for the EE and IA. You will see it as a challenge that you want to pursue rather than an obligation. The hardest part would probably be balancing your time and energy across so many different fronts. It’s like a circus balancing act – if you use too much effort on one side, the others will tilt downwards, and you’ll begin to wobble. But that’s also the fun part of it – receiving this multitude of knowledge from so many different perspectives.
‘One last tip would be to go into every class with an open mind, ready to collaborate. You receive as much as what you contribute to your classes.”
“It’s safe to say that the music department is my home at ISKL. I spend so much time there, especially between classes, because it’s conveniently located and peaceful, at times. But most importantly, every time I step in, I feel nothing but heart-warming support from the teachers, staff, and friends. My fondest memories are the past two Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS) music conventions – both of which happened in our music department! I’m telling you, only awesome things happen there!
‘Apart from IASAS Music, I was also part of the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Band, and the fantastic Tri-M family! I was fortunate to join the IASAS Model United Nations (MUN) conferences and speak at virtual Ted-Ed events. I co-led the ‘Behind The Scenes’ project helping bus monitors with their English proficiency and the Malaysian Karen Organization (MKO) club teaching Karen refugee children.
‘I wished I could have gotten to know more teachers. But from the teachers I have had the privilege of learning from, each of them impacted me in their unique way. I want to shout out to Ms. Jaymin Baird, Mr. Dan Miles, Mr. Stephen Sweet, Mr. Seth Tyler, Mr. Matthew Popovich, Ms. Becky Naughton, Mr. Drew Davis, Mr. Tommy Ruiz, Ms. Caroline Tan, Ms. Heather Cook, and Ms. Noren Sahari!”
What does ‘Be All You Are’ mean to you?
“‘Be All You Are’ means being equipped and supported to uncover every bit of potential you have – even those you never knew existed. And I believe this doesn’t only apply to the individual. It’s about us, the people at ISKL – it means pushing ourselves to do better every time, making the most of what we have, and lifting each other in the process, because why not, right?”
Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.
To find out more inspiring stories of our students, read about Steve X. the Aspiring Doctor or Seungyoon H., The Warm-Hearted Benefactor!