Teen Life: Figuring out the university application process

My class has been in for an unpleasant shock this year. Our teenage years are flying by without us realising it; some of us are already legally adults at the venerable age of 18, and it is time for us to apply to university. A scared, excited anticipation of the strange hurdles university life will toss up is palpable.

Teenagers are fond of proclaiming often and loudly that no one loves us or cares about us, or else we would have been allowed to go to that party like everyone else on the planet. Of course, most of us are spoilt, cosseted little whiners who expect everything to be handed to us on a silver platter by a white-gloved waiter, especially here in Dubai. The rigours of university or a job seem miles away and we have so far viewed the real world only through our rose-tinted Dolce & Gabanna sunglasses.

Right now, however, anxiety about having to leave mummy and daddy soon is being overridden by the convoluted university application process. Gone are the happy days where getting in simply meant being good at the subjects you were planning to study.

As competition for every coveted place becomes fiercer, applicants are offering increasingly stellar school grades and jaw-dropping performances in entrance exams. The parameters have widened. Do you sound empathetic, decisive and astute? Have you taken on leadership roles in global warming summits, or fundraised with the hope of saving the endangered Natterjack toad? Have you aced every history test you've ever taken, starred as the prima ballerina in a production of Giselle and become captain of the national tiddlywinks team? And what do you do to relax? "Sleep" and "text" are definitely not the right answers. Instead, "Savouring the magic of Mendelssohn as my fingers trip lithely over the cello" might work. It's pleasing that years of seemingly pointless extracurriculars were not in vain. Now is the time to compile your credentials and thank your mother for making you join the girl guides 10 years ago so you can illustrate your teamwork skills.

Picking colleges to apply to isn't a matter of printing off a list, closing your eyes and randomly jabbing the paper with a pencil either, as tempting as that sounds. "The fair" once denoted stalls full of sweets, coconut hoops and old-world charm. College fairs, though, are treacherous places to navigate. As soon as you walk in, 50 different representatives try to convince you why their institutions are your dream choice - even if they don't teach the degree you want to study. Before long, you are drowning in a multicoloured sea of pamphlets and souvenir pens.

Reading up on courses, qualifications accepted and admissions statistics has turned us into bleary-eyed walking encyclopaedias and instilled in our careworn hearts a lifelong dread of the word "prospectus". At least we're all in this together and can enjoy the discovery process with our friends. We don't know what the future holds, but the application process is nevertheless a glorious chance to describe in exquisite detail just how wonderful we think we are.

Finally, our hearts go out to Malala, who courageously stood up for a right to education that we take for granted; here's hoping she gets well soon.

The writer is a 17-year-old student in Dubai.

'The Ice Road'

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Stars: Liam Neeson, Amber Midthunder, Laurence Fishburne



Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

Company profile

Date started: 2015

Founder: John Tsioris and Ioanna Angelidaki

Based: Dubai

Sector: Online grocery delivery

Staff: 200

Funding: Undisclosed, but investors include the Jabbar Internet Group and Venture Friends


Creator: Netflix

Stars: Kris Fade, Ebraheem Al Samadi, Zeina Khoury

Rating: 2/5

The years Ramadan fell in May





Tips to keep your car cool
  • Place a sun reflector in your windshield when not driving
  • Park in shaded or covered areas
  • Add tint to windows
  • Wrap your car to change the exterior colour
  • Pick light interiors - choose colours such as beige and cream for seats and dashboard furniture
  • Avoid leather interiors as these absorb more heat

Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj and Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper)


Director: Carol Mansour

Starring: Aida Abboud, Carol Mansour

Rating: 3.5./5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
How to get there

Emirates (www.emirates.com) flies directly to Hanoi, Vietnam, with fares starting from around Dh2,725 return, while Etihad (www.etihad.com) fares cost about Dh2,213 return with a stop. Chuong is 25 kilometres south of Hanoi.

The Cairo Statement

1: Commit to countering all types of terrorism and extremism in all their manifestations

2: Denounce violence and the rhetoric of hatred

3: Adhere to the full compliance with the Riyadh accord of 2014 and the subsequent meeting and executive procedures approved in 2014 by the GCC

4: Comply with all recommendations of the Summit between the US and Muslim countries held in May 2017 in Saudi Arabia.

5: Refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of countries and of supporting rogue entities.

6: Carry out the responsibility of all the countries with the international community to counter all manifestations of extremism and terrorism that threaten international peace and security

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The Color Purple

Director: Blitz Bazawule
Starring: Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo
Rating: 4/5


Name: Yango Deli Tech
Based: UAE
Launch year: 2022
Sector: Retail SaaS
Funding: Self funded

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

About Krews

Founder: Ahmed Al Qubaisi

Based: Abu Dhabi

Founded: January 2019

Number of employees: 10

Sector: Technology/Social media 

Funding to date: Estimated $300,000 from Hub71 in-kind support


The specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 217hp at 5,750rpm

Torque: 300Nm at 1,900rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh130,000

On sale: now