This week, we met with alumni Nadia Redza (’17), who attended ISKL for eight years, from Grade 5 until graduation!
Originally from Kuala Lumpur, apart from being part of the orchestra as a violin player and co-Salutatorian, Nadia participated in the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS) swimming team for all four High School (HS) years, as well as represented Malaysia as a national swimmer at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games!
Recently graduated from the University of Chicago, Nadia is now working at a leading financial and technological firm.
Here is her story.
A Passion for Swimming
“Sport is such a special part of someone’s life, and I am grateful for what I have learned from swimming and for all the opportunities I have had to compete internationally. It has taught me discipline, time management, and the importance of hard work.
‘I came into ISKL knowing I wanted to swim. I remember my last IASAS swimming tournament, where our 4 x 100 medley relay team beat Singapore American School (SAS) for the first time in a couple of years! It had been a goal for Verena Michael, Zhi-Syuen See, Anna Jobling, and myself to take over the podium from the SAS girls at an event they had dominated for so long, and when we touched first at my last IASAS event, whilst infront of a home crowd, it was a feeling like no other!
‘As I graduated, I decided to swim in college too, and it was one of the best decisions of my life! While I have officially retired from the sport that I have loved and competed in for the last 15 years – sports and staying active has continued with me, especially after graduation.
‘My advice for current ISKL student-athletes is if you don’t want to compete in a varsity team in college, it’s important to keep sports in your life, even if it’s through club sports intramurals or just hitting the pool or field once a week. If you want to compete professionally, I would say go for it if you’re willing and able to put in the time and effort required.”
ISKL Nostalgia & Friendships
“I started my ISKL journey at the Melawati campus, and at first, I felt a little out of place since I arrived at the end of Elementary School in fifth grade. However, my classroom teacher Mr. Max Mangelsdorf made me feel right at home, especially as he was also a new teacher that year. One memorable moment I had from my first days was dressing up for Halloween as an entire class – it was wild to me how creative some people’s costumes were!
‘Looking back on my time at ISKL, my teachers Ching Lao Shi, and Mr. Everette Burk, taught me the importance of being myself and not being afraid to pursue a path that may be different from others. The lessons I have learned from them have been the most important because they inspired me to be a diligent, goal-oriented hard worker while enjoying what life brings me.
‘As for friendships, I’ve remained close to mainly two friends from my class. We are all in different places, so we keep connected through a group chat to share our life events. When I have the opportunity to go home during school breaks, and we are all in the same place, we make an effort to meet up. However, these are the types of friends that I don’t need to speak to every day – I still feel as close to them as I have ever been.”
Living during the COVID-19 Pandemic
“The past year has been strange. It was not an ideal senior year at college, but this will be unique to our Class of 2021 and something that I can share with my grandchildren in the future.
‘While I did graduate from university and receive my diploma in June, it honestly feels like I am still a college student because the last year has been both somewhat of a stagnant blur for me, as I am sure has been for all of us who had to go through the pandemic. However, I am very excited for what the future has in store, with my full-time job here in Chicago and the thought of graduate school as an option. I completed a virtual internship with my company in the summer of 2020, and I am proud to have completed my internship by learning how to be an independent adult as I was living alone in the middle of a pandemic. Besides the technical skills that I knew, I also learned how to meet new people virtually and form relationships.
What does “Be All You Are” mean to you?
“To me, being all you are means not being afraid to try new things and take on new challenges, but also being intentional with the actions and decisions you choose.
‘This especially rings true to me right now, as I am in the post-graduation transition phase into becoming a working adult with a full-time job. There are times where I have had to make tough decisions that require me to pause and think about my past, present, and future self. But I was able to be all that I am through intentionality and willingness to step out of my comfort zone.”
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 Mizuki S. (’23), the Leader of Change, or The Bioverse Team!