COMMENT | I came to journalism via a circuitous route. In August 1990, at the age of 17, I was actually a JPA scholar with a place to study engineering at Virginia Tech, then ranked in the 30-40 bracket in the world for engineering programmes.
It was a major leap compared to school, where I had largely gotten by without doing my homework or much studying. Suddenly I found myself in a very competitive environment and unable to cope with the steep learning curve. The assumption was that I would be good at engineering because I had scored well in Maths, Add Maths and Physics. But I was not.
I eventually transferred out of the programme and did not complete any degree from that university which I left in 1992.
That's why I was all the more impressed by the achievements of Irdina Shahriman, who consistently achieved a 4.0 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) as an Electrical Engineering undergraduate at Virginia Tech from 2018 to 2021.
She ranked first among almost 10,000 students, bagging the...