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A Conversation with Two Students of Distinction

  • Date 2022-08-26 10:09
  • CategoryStory
  • Hit502

At the end of each semester, the KDI School of Public Policy awards students who have demonstrated excellent academic performance in their academic studies. Indeed, in the KDI School’s competitive environment, every student tries to be at the top of their class through mastering the subjects they have taken during the semester. There are certain requirements which need to be met to be placed on the Dean’s List with Distinction or Dean’s List. For the former, the students should score a GPA of 4/4; however, for the later the requirement is a GPA ranged between 3.83-3.99. In both cases, the students should have registered for at least 9 credit graduation requirement courses. Taking this into account, we had a chance to interview with two of the Dean’s List with Distinction students who shared their experience with others. 

Amalia Mastur

She is from one of the most beautiful Islands, Bali, Indonesia, and is pursuing a Master of Public Policy with concentration on Trade and Industrial Policy. She has vast experience in the field of international trade and policy as she pointed out, “I have always been passionate about international trade and development. But lately, I am very interested in trade and development, so I have also been learning a lot about environment and sustainable development policy as well. So, that was the reason that triggered me to choose KDIS as place to pursue my master’s degree”. 

What does it mean for you being placed among Dean’s-List with Distinction students?

If I could choose one word to describe, it is probably that this achievement “humbled” me. Indeed, there are so many brilliant and hardworking students in KDIS, and to be on this list gives me both pleasant feelings but also sets a high standard to keep for myself next semester.

How do you balance between academic and social life at KDIS?

I am an advocate for work-life and study-life balance. Of course, our main priority here is studying, but apart from that, KDI School also offers various clubs, forums, and events that I actively participate in, too. Every Friday night, I go to the Lincoln Hall to join Zumba Club, I joined the ASEAN Forum, I bike near the river almost every evening, go to coin karaoke with friends, and lastly, I joined the Song and Dance Festival this semester. With the diversity it has, there is endless options for our social life at KDI School, but I think the key here is to balance everything, both the study and social life. 

Could you please suggest some effective study tips which contributed to your academic excellence?

Amalia forwarded the following study tips which have helped her to achieve such success.

Make a study plan. I always make a study plan from the time I am registering for the course. I choose courses according to my interest, my effective time to absorb knowledge, and my study preferences. For example, I know I can’t really perform the best during evening classes, so I try not to take any evening class. I also assign all assignments to my calendar in the first week of the semester. So, every Sunday night, I plan my week ahead and decide on which things to focus on. 

Try to explain in one sentence. This is a good trick that I learn from Prof. Sherzod from my trade class. He always asks students to explain everything shortly in one sentence. And I figured that when I put it into my reading routine, I can understand and remember what I learnt much easier. 

Eat Healthy and Sleep. I know it sounds cliché, but this helps me a lot to build a good habit in my life. I never sacrifice my sleep or force myself to study, when I am tired, I sleep, when I am hungry, I make sure that I eat healthily. My roommate says I am a person of routine and organized, I wake up and sleep at around the same time, and I mark every appointment and things to do on my calendar.

Amalia concluded the interview by saying “I am a believer that grades are not everything, and they are not going to determine ourself or our future. I think the right mindset is to sincerely crave for knowledge, because there will be no end to learning. As a human, we will always have to learn, be it from the class, from a workplace, or just from people around us. So, enjoy your learning time in KDI School while you can.” 

Nigora Burhonova

She is from Tajikistan, one of the beautiful counties located in Central Asia, and is pursuing a Master of Development Policy at KDIS with concentration in sustainable development. She has a vast experience in the field of environmental projects as she was working with IGOs back in Tajikistan. Practical experience in the field of development has drawn her attention to the sustainability aspect of those environmental projects and led her develop a deep interest in learning more about sustainable development. Therefore, she applied to KDI School of Public Policy and was accepted to the Development Policy Program. 

Could you please tell us how you balance between academic and social life at KDIS?

I think it depends on what each person’s interests and hobbies are. You should find activities that suit your interest and construct your academic schedule in a way that will allow you to have time for study, engage in some extracurricular activities, and hang out with friends as well. Back in my undergraduate study years, I think I was quite an active student, and I wanted to continue at the same pace here at KDIS. Currently, I am a member of the Zumba club, which I joined to help boost my health and also meet new people. I also try to participate in school events when I have time apart from my studies, such as field trips, volunteering programs, PR events, and happy hour events, and I also try to explore more of South Korea during semester breaks or sometimes weekends. Recently, I became a student ambassador for the summer semester, and I love contributing to the promotion of the SNS pages of the school.

What does it mean being placed on the Dean’s-List with Distinction to you?  

Honestly, I do not always aim toward high grades, but rather try to learn from the course by putting in my best effort. However, being on the Dean’s List with Distinction for the spring semester, I feel no different but just glad that my efforts helped me to complete the courses. During my undergraduate studies, I was also part of the Dean’s and President’s lists every semester, but just thinking that I am able to achieve good grades in a master’s program makes me feel proud of myself. 

Could you please share with us some effective study tips for academic excellence? 

Well, there are no certain practices or effective study tips that I follow. I usually study with the course materials that are available for everyone, including books, papers, slides, and other readings. Group studies also help a lot, as you can exchange the knowledge learned, fill the gaps, and listen to different perspectives and experiences. I remember in the Introduction to Development Policy course, which is a core course for MDP students, we sometimes studied in groups for assignments and also for the final exam, which greatly helped us to succeed. 

As a concluding thought, she said that “I would just like to say that in the process of studying, grades do not usually reflect your knowledge of the subject, and it shouldn’t be a matter for you to stress too much about it. The most important thing is the knowledge learned and understood from every course, which can be applicable in your future.”

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