Appreciating those who want you to surpass them

By Azra Farzana Shuib

They say that life is just like driving; at times you need to look at the rear view mirror to keep moving forward. It’s true, as sometimes we have to acknowledge our past gains and losses to guide us to make better steps ahead.

Currently, probably most IIUM students are enjoying their holidays after struggling between papers. At this resting point, have we ever paused and lingered over the thoughts that we have actually made this far? Maybe to some, finishing your exam papers merely meant that you are just moving on to another semester.

But we rarely give the right people the credits they deserve for every time we ‘level up’.

Humans are social beings, as the famous quote goes, “no man is an island”. And, however isolated a person you may be, you don’t reach your destinations by your own effort absolutely.

We have reached far by being in the university, but as in any adventure, the formative period or preparatory moments play a salient role. The bitter truth is that only a few of us appreciate those who were there during our early days before joining the university, that is those who made our lecturers’ lives today fairly easier.

It’s difficult to fathom the hardship faced by our teachers in schools back then, having to face the embodiments of gushing and rebellious hormones of teenagers, or the wilderness of a child’s mind and demeanour. Yet, our teachers never gave up in their job to educate us, although having to brace themselves with new excitements for almost every day to teach the ungrateful youngsters we were then.

With their unwavering efforts, we were able to leave school and meet teachers of another level of knowledge – lecturers in university. At this level, we became more specialised and we realised that all the knowledge that we gained in schools were just the basics of the vast learning realm in a pursuit of greater knowledge. Some of us have surpassed or at least became at the same level with our teachers as they themselves became teachers too.

Gone are the days when only straight A’s are valued for the real world that we will soon be thrown into, as potential employers will judge us more on the skills and wisdom in facing encounters and challenges.

Throughout the passage of time, we have forgotten those who taught us the simplest mathematical operations, the easiest words in languages, those who corrected the silliest grammar mistakes that we laugh at now. What could we ever do now without them?

It’s hard to say if we have matured now, but we can rest assure that we have definitely become more matured than we were back then. We acknowledged our stupidity, impatience and mistakes, and from there on we made better steps and plans. We gained all of those through experience; from the moment we started sensing the world until the moment we were able to build our own perceptions.

Experience is truly the best teacher, no objections in that. But experience too taught us the significant roles our previous teachers have played in shaping our lives. In the near future, when we are finally granted the scroll, it’s never enough to just thank our lecturers as the people who were more than excited to see us entering the university were our school teachers.

But let us not forget the real teachers who have always been behind us all along – our dearest parents. They may not have the same specialisation or qualification, but they are always ready to give us wise guidance. After all, they watched us grow and they are the ones who know their children best, more than anyone else.

Let’s appreciate our teachers, whoever they may be, and let that be a reminder that no matter how far we’ve reached in life, it will never be possible without having those who have guided us, while being aware of the fact that their efforts might not be acknowledged for long.

Teachers are wonderful people. They drive their lives while occasionally looking at the rear view mirror, watching you moving forward, passing them.***

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