The God Of My ‘Dreams
As a little girl, I always dreamt of studying fashion and remember getting excited whenever I hear talks or read magazines about it. But even back then I knew, fashion wasn’t the expected career path for most Asian families. A lot of us are usually encouraged to do something more stable like law, medicine or accounting and finance, especially since we’re living in Malaysia. And it came to a point that whenever I was asked what I wanted to do in the future, my heart would be screaming ‘Fashion!’, but those words would always get choked down because I was afraid of how others would react. So I told God instead.
My parents were one of the first few adults whom I shared my dream with, and until now I am so grateful for their support in helping me with my research on which college I should go. I eventually found out that Raffles College had an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Marketing and Management, which was a mix of fashion and business, the perfect combo for me! It was the only university in Malaysia which offered that course, but it was very expensive, around 60k for 2 years.
My parents told me they only had a certain budget for my studies, especially since I am the eldest in the family. That goes without saying that the course fees had exceeded their budget and that they could not afford sending me there. Honestly, I was really down. Here I was, my dreams finally within reach, yet not able to go to university and study my dream course because there simply wasn’t enough money.
However, I decided to have a change of heart to believe that my God was able to make it happen for me if I asked and believe in faith. Thus, I prayed and asked God to show my parents and I that going into the fashion industry was part of God’s plan and dream for me.
I started looking for scholarships and the only scholarship that Raffles offered was The Star Newspaper scholarship, a full scholarship which was given to only one person. I applied for the scholarship not knowing what will happen as I was not a straight A’s student when I finished high school. To my surprise, I got a call saying that I was shortlisted for an interview. After going for the interview, I was informed that I received the full scholarship from The Star Newspaper Scholarship and also the only person to receive it for that course that year! The scholarship was the sign and approval from God for my parents and I that my dream to be in the fashion world could come true! I became brave to dream.
Fast forward 2 years and I graduated with the Top Student award of the year for Fashion Marketing & Management. I also got to intern under Malaysia’s famous fashion designer, Melinda Looi. God gave me favour with my bosses and they offered me a full time job before I even graduated. It was really an amazing experience working with Melinda and her husband Dirk, who is the Group CEO. I was only 20 when I took on this job. Never in my wildest dreams would I think that God will provide me with an amazing job that I can only dream of! Once again, God was making my dream come true little by little. I thought it couldn’t get any better, but God had even greater plans in stored for me.
In 2016, my parents and I started talking about me pursuing my degree. I told my parents my heart’s desire was to study overseas and to do a one-year degree course. They were very hesitant because going overseas would mean a very high financial cost. I immediately reminded myself that God provided a full scholarship for my diploma and that He could do it again. So just like before, I gave this dream of mine to God. I prayed and told God that if He wants me to go overseas, He has to provide for me.
At first I thought of just going to Melbourne because it is nearer and cheaper but my mom asked me to apply to UK as well. Slowly, God just closed all the doors that were not right for me, including Melbourne! As a past diploma scholarship holder, I thought it would be hard for me to get another scholarship. However, one University in UK, University for the Creative Arts in London, offered me a 20% scholarship, which made the fees even cheaper (only 8000+ pounds) than studying my degree in Malaysia. My parents and I were amazed!
I was so excited when I got the news because this is one of the top universities that specializes in only creative arts and design courses. The most amazing thing was that the scholarship was one that was specially crafted just for me, making me the first Malaysian to ever receive it. In fact, it wasn’t even a scholarship I could apply for! To make things crazier, the Dean of the university, Zandra Rhodes, who agreed and crafted my scholarship, was also one of the fashion designers for Princess Diana. When I found out all of this, I could only stand in awe. God really did it again by showing me that the dream I had was given by Him and that He will fulfill and plan it out for me! All I had to do was trust Him.
I finally graduated back in June with a First Class Honours in Fashion Management and Marketing in London. Never in my wildest dreams would I think I could get those scholarships, work with an amazing designer and go to the UK to pursue my dreams in the fashion world after graduating from high school. I am but just an ordinary girl, from an ordinary family, with a slightly above ordinary dream, and an extraordinary God. What He has done for me, I believe He can do for you too when you trust Him. So be brave to dream and dare to dream big.
– Sophia Kaan