Keethanjeli Palaniyappan with her certificate of achievement.
Keethanjeli Palaniyappan (second from right) with her family.
Keethanjeli Palaniyappan (centre) enjoys activities such as performing a zapin performance during a Hari Raya celebration.

LIFE does not stop after Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), so said Keethanjeli Palaniyappan, 22.

“There is always an alternative way to achieve your goals even if you don’t have straight As. All you need is patience and optimism. Work towards your goals although it takes time. Success will eventually be yours,” added Keethanjeli.

Her initial desire was to become a doctor but she did not do well in the SPM examination.

So she opted for the three-year Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology programme at MSU College in Shah Alam.

“After I joined the course I realised that I wanted to diagnose diseases and so I put my heart into becoming a pathologist,” said Keethanjeli from Sungai Bakap, Penang who has just finished her studies, including a six-month internship at Penang General Hospital.

“I am an active person, especially during my college years. I was a team leader for more than five times in various games including a lab race and survivor skills race.

“I was also involved in events such as the health science day, cervix cancer campaign and Zumba competition. I took part in community services like charity events and cleaning the orphanage, Rumah Aman, at Section 2 in Shah Alam.”

Keethanjeli recently received the President’s List Award for excellent achievement in her studies. The award is given to students who maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.75 and above for three consecutive semesters. “I had a CGPA of 4.00 for every semester,” she added.


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She credits her family, lecturers and friends for her achievements. “They are my source of inspiration and motivation. Without them, I won’t be where I am now. I still have a long way to go in my studies and I hope this award is the start of many more accolades.”

She intends to pursue a degree in biomedicine at MSU University before enrolling in either a Master’s in Neuroscience or Infectious Diseases course.

“Being in the medical lab is my passion, and I am excited to see where it takes me in my career. I want to be a researcher in the medical field and contribute my services to the nation and the world.”

For Keethanjeli , facing challenges is “part and parcel of life”. “You learn lessons when you have gone through hardships.”

She added that everyone faces hardships and has low points in their lives, but they need to concentrate on the positive.

Unlike some students, Keethanjeli does not burn the midnight oil or do last-minute revision. For her, focusing in class and asking questions is key.

“It makes learning easier,” she said, adding that making notes helps her in her studies.

Looking up to her idol, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the former Prime Minister of India who was also a Nasa scientist, she believes in finishing what she started and to never give up.

“His famous quote, ‘Don’t take a rest after your first victory, if you fail in the second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck’, motivates me to do better.”

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