Anjali Ranaweera - An Inspiring Young Achiever
By Shamindri De Sayrah
Photographed by Kevin Michael
“It does not matter what people think of you, because in life I would advise you to live the way you want to. You should learn without limits and live without regrets.”
I had the pleasure of sitting down with UCL student and an inspiring young achiever, 18 year old Anjali Ranaweera, to talk about her amazing academic achievements. In conversation with Anjali she spoke to us about her goals, her road there and how she got where she is now.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
“My name is Anjali Upeka Ranaweera and I’m eighteen years old. Initially I schooled at Lyceum International School Wattala, and then I transferred to Nugegoda. I’m a tomboy, I’m not your traditional girl. I was the Head Girl in 2015-2016. I did quite a bit of sports, I’m not a runner, but I throw the Javelin. I have a passion for Arts, so I sing as a hobby. I draw as well.”
Anjali is a former Head Prefect, Netball Captain, Athletics Captain, Best Actress, and a Girl Guide of Lyceum International School Nugegoda. She has won age group championships at inter- house, inter- school, ISAC, divisional and district level athletic meets, and other events. She was played in the Top 3 at Junior National Athletic Meets. She has also been placed in the Top 3 in speech contests, sings at events and actively engages in social welfare activities. When she’s not excelling in academics, she is either eating or binge watching Friends. Anjali secured an average of 91.70 out of 100, and passed the ISAT with an above average score. After performing excellently at the Monash University Foundation Year at UCL, she secured entry to the prestigious Monash Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine degree programme at Monash University. She is one out of the first three students to do so from the Monash University Foundation Year programme.
How does it feel to be 1 of the 3 students selected for the Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine Degree?
“I am actually very humbled; obviously it is a great privilege to have been selected from the Foundation Level. I don’t think this has happened before. Generally, the usual pathway is to be selected through your A/L’s directly. The foundation or as opposed to common opinion, is actually quite difficult and apart from the foundation there are additional requirements you have to fulfill. It was challenging but it was also very emotionally and academically fulfilling doing all of that to get into the programme and I have learnt a lot along the way.”
Unlike most who study medicine, Anjali’s goals are somewhat different; she wants to be a doctor, yes, but not just any doctor. A flying doctor. Combining a family lineage of Aviation and her love for medicine, Anjali aims to become a member of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.
To have come so far in academics at such a young age is quite an achievement, how has the road been so far?
“People call me an all- rounder, but it’s not through trying really. I just do whatever I want to do and whatever I like doing. It’s an automatic process. If you do what you like to do, then you become good at it. It does not matter what you apply yourself to.”
How do you define being successful?
“To me success is not defined by the qualifications you obtain, it is by the qualities you have. It’s what you learn, and what you gain from your surroundings and how you apply it; not just to better your life but the lives of everyone around you without expecting anything in return. As long as the impact you have on yourself and on others are positive, wholesome and great, then I believe you will be a successful person.”
Is there anyone you would like to thank who has helped you on this journey?
“First, my parents and the rest of my family for always believing in me and supporting me, emotionally and financially. I couldn’t have become who I am if not for their constant love, faith and support. My friends at UCL, for their amazing talents, personalities and encouragement, whilst obtaining the best learning experience for me, of course, the amazing memories. Last, but definitely not the least, I would like to thank a lot of people from the Dean, Management, Staff, Marketing Team and all the lecturers at UCL. It would take a long time to name them all. But I have to say that everyone at UCL has helped me on this journey. They were so helpful and caring and always willing to answer any questions I had even though it was outside the syllabus. Here at UCL the academic and non- academic staff were willing to go the extra mile and I really want to commend them on that.”
What advice do you have for aspiring young achievers?
“Always listen to your heart and not to your parents, and never to your friends (with regard to career choices only, of course) because if you end up doing what your friends are doing, just because they’re doing it, you will never be happy in life. The sad truth is most people are temporary. You will meet new people along the way, but the one constant is your dream, your passion and yourself. Throughout your life you are the only constant. So always listen to your heart ant let it guide you. Also never give up on your dream and remember there is never any one way to achieving it. Furthermore, stay humble and respect everyone around you regardless of whether they are older or younger to you, because everyone you meet regardless of their age knows something you don’t, or has experienced something you haven’t. Don’t think that you are above anyone. Remember and appreciate everyone who has helped you. Also, do take maximum advantage of everything around you, because now as opposed to 5 years ago there is so much more resources and information at hand.”
We at Chokolaate would like to wish Anjali the best of luck with her academic journey, keep following your dreams, and your heart. Can’t wait to see where you end up.