Meet a Shocker: Isaac Tan


Isaac Tan came to Wichita State from Malaysia because of the university’s value and affordability.

Isaac is one of more than 3,500 students eligible for spring 2021 graduation. Learn more about his time at Wichita State and what is next for the grad.

What degree did you earn?

B.A. in psychology with a human factors certificate.

What is your hometown?

I’m from Subang Jaya, Malaysia. I am eager to return because the food back home is amazing, and no Malaysian will tell you otherwise. Malaysia is a beautiful country and, even with its fair share of problems, I’m proud to be from there.

What led you to Wichita State to begin?

I didn’t know a lot about Wichita or Kansas when I started looking for my university. I knew my university needed to meet a few criteria, one of the main ones being affordability and value. For the price, Wichita State University seemed to offer great value for the facilities and lodging it provides.

How are you feeling leading up to graduation?

Nervous, not so much about graduating, but more because of what comes after it. We’ve been raised in a way from when we were 6 years old to go to school and learn for most of our lives. I’m both excited and nervous to start entering into a new phase of my life and adulthood.

What has been your most helpful learning experience while a student at Wichita State?

I don’t think I can pinpoint a learning experience that was most meaningful. Different experiences helped me learn different things, which were all equally beneficial in different scenarios. Being part of a lab and doing research has helped me in my skills as a practitioner of science. Being a barista at Starbucks has taught me how to deal with the occasional problematic individual. And being president for Associated Malaysian Students of Wichita helped me hone leadership skills, which I never thought I had.  

What has been your biggest challenge as a student, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I faced was probably assimilating into American culture. I don’t think I'm alone in this when I say this is the biggest problem most international students face when they study here. I figured since I consumed American literature, entertainment and culture, I would have a much smoother transition than my peers. However, this was not the case. I overcame the problem the same way I dealt with my other problems: Persistence and time.

What are your plans after graduation?

My plans are to start working and eventually apply for a graduate program.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your time at Wichita State or your post-graduation plans? 

Compared to the suffering inflicted on others during the pandemic, I'm considered very blessed. COVID-19 has left me graduating into a very small job market with limited opportunities, but I am hopeful as the vaccine rolls out, things will start improving. 

What advice would you give other Wichita State students?

Find problems and face them. Avoiding problems doesn’t make them disappear. Cut yourself some slack and be nicer to yourself. A bad grade isn’t the end of the world. Just pick yourself back up and try again. You’ll look back in the future and wonder why you worried about so many things.

Read more stories like this