Why should I? “For purposes bigger than myself”

As the July 9th deadline draws near, we are kicking off a series called Why Should I?, in which our 2013 Fellows who have accepted the offer share their aspirations as they venture into this challenging, yet life-changing path. John Lim, an Electrical Engineering and Economics graduate-to-be from Pennsylvania State University shares his thoughts on this.


I want to do something for purposes bigger than myself. Indeed, this is something I have thought about more than I have actually acted upon. I have many years in my life to seek for a career in finance, so I thought it would be best if I give the next two years of my life for the intellectual development and personal growth of students in high-need schools. I want to help weak students overcome their defeated mindset.

While it is true that Malaysia will benefit from producing more engineers, mathematicians and doctors, one cannot be learning geometry without first learning how to count. Thus, I want to first equip my students with an strong understanding of scientific principles and mathematical concepts.

I want to give the parents of my students a reason to be proud of their children. It is definitely most unpleasant to hear words from a parent’s mouth that describe their children as uneducable and hopeless. Hence, it would bring me greater joy to know that the attitude of my students’ parents towards them have changed due to my success in educating their child.

From all of my wants of the above, I have the following hopes:

I hope to become the teacher whom students know cares for them. This will cause  me to know that I have put others before myself.

I hope to significantly increase the passing rate of Mathematics and Science  in the classes that I teach. Although grades are not the best measure of a student’s ability, grades can provide a teacher with a sense of his or her teaching effectiveness.

I hope to be an inspiration to the other teachers should my efforts be successful. Thus, I know that my efforts have made an impact beyond the classroom I teach in.

I hope to be more learned about life. After the two years, maturity is the least I can ask for in return.

I hope that one of my students will win the Noble prize. Albeit far into the future, I wish to see a continuance of the impact that I made throughout my lifetime.