At 19, Sarah and her friends were fully enjoying their lives. They fell madly in love with all things Korean. Rain, Big Bang, Super Junior. The richer ones went to Nami Island, their Winter Sonata pilgramage.
As hormones raged, Sarah’s friends became boy-crazy. Make-up and clothes became obsessions. Rumours abounded that a girl from another class had to drop out of school after she got pregnant. But Sarah didn’t have the time to go dating. Her time was fully taken up by her studies and part time babysitting job. Her father had been laid off, a result of the sub-prime crisis in the US which had hit the world economy, including Malaysia. Sarah’s hopes of studying overseas were gone. She could only hope to get into a local university and secure a full scholarship.
STPM results day. 3As and 1B! Sarah was overjoyed. She managed to secure a place in Universiti Malaya to study Chemical Engineering. Best of all, PTPTN also came through with a full loan.
Sarah said good bye to her family. With her backpack, she got onto the KTM train and started a new life as a student in Kuala Lumpur.
Sarah fully enjoyed her days as a university student. The freedom of being on her own. No parents to tell her what to do. Partying with friends. Shopping. Movies. She continued to fund her activities and few luxuries by working part time as a crew member at events. Matta fair, career fairs, bridal fairs, book fairs.
4 years later, Sarah graduated. Her days of skipping lectures and tutorials told. A CGPA grade of only 2.86. She could see the disappointment in her parents’ eyes. But what was done had been done. A new era now awaited as Sarah prepared to step into the working world and begin her job hunt. At the back of her mind, her poor results nagged at her. Would it hinder her ability to secure her dream job?
Although she knew that Penang did not offer as many job opportunities as KL, she still focused her efforts there. She wanted to stay with her family. Eat her mother’s cooking, have free board and lodging. Free laundry. She could also use the family car. Why should she relocate?
Sarah prepared her CV and cover letter. Then she scoured the job vacancies advertised in the newspapers and on Jobstreet. Everytime she saw one in Penang, she pressed “Send”. She must have applied to a few hundred applications by her own count.
She waited eagerly for the calls. Checked her phone. Checked her email. But none came. She grew depressed as days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months.