Convocation: Of excitement and ambivalence among IIUM graduands

By Muhammad Faiz

“Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer, whether or not you know what your ‘passion’ might be. The truth is, it does not matter. You do not have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new.” Shonda Rhimes 

The quote above is all about grabbing all opportunities, becoming a doer and to keep thriving to realise our dreams. Doesn’t matter if the dream is to travel the world, landing a fulfilling career or to excel in studies. For some people, a dreamed life is an unknown territory yet a path that all must take. Currently, convocation is taking place in most university campuses around the world. It is a meaningful moment in life for students after spending four or five years in the university.

In their years of studying, they have gone through a lot of experience – good and bad. One can only speak what one had experienced in their years through their own words.

I met and asked graduands some of these boggling questions nearing their convocation ceremony and here are their thoughtful answers:

  1. What are three words to describe your studies in IIUM?

Abdul Muhaimin Mohamad Wijayanuddin, a Political Science student described his years in IIUM as “mistakes, correction and learning.”

History and Civilization student, Nur Asmira Anuar described her years as “education, experience and civilization.”

Meanwhile, Communication student, Musfirah Hassan said that her three choice words are “giving up, challenge and having fun.”

Last but not least, Arabic Language and Literature student, Siti Aishah Muhammad Amin described hers as “love, love and love”. She went on to explain if you do not have the love for knowledge and education you will not succeed in going through it, hence she chose to study the Arabic language.

  1. What is the most important lesson you have learned in IIUM?

Muhaimin told IIUMToday that the important lesson he has learned in IIUM is to always broaden his perspective and be more critical. More important, he learned to contribute back to the society. While Musfirah said “the most important thing is to identify your strength and weaknesses.”

“You won’t go anywhere without knowledge as it is a powerful and important tool in life,” Siti Aishah briefly explained.

“The most important lesson I have learnt in IIUM is to understand and adapt to others’ culture. I was also exposed to new and different ideas or point of view of people from different background,” Asmira told IIUMToday.

  1. How do you deal with the struggles and hardships while studying?

“I got to make sure to enjoy facing all those struggles and hardships every day while I was studying. The way I dealt with is by approaching it in a positive way and do it in my own way,” Muhaimin said.

Asmira said that she dealt with all of the struggles and hardships by consulting her lecturers, family as well as friends to get ideas on how to deal with the problems. She even kept reminding herself to not ever give up and enjoy every moment in IIUM. As for Musfirah, she dealt with it by living her life happily and not being afraid to try something new. Not only that, she focused on how to be confident, to be a good person and “loving what I am doing”.

“I am a slow learner, therefore, I make it up by asking questions about the things that I don’t know. One of my favourite sayings is in Arabic was it is better to look stupid within five minutes rather than feeling stupid for the rest of my life,” Aishah expressed.

  1. What are your feelings now knowing the time of convocation is just around the corner?

Muhaimin went on to express his happiness by saying that for him to be able to celebrate his convocation with his family is a happy thing. On the other side, Asmira said she has mixed feelings as she is so excited and proud of herself how she finally managed to graduate this year, but also sad at the same time as she will no longer be a student of IIUM.

“My grade is not good but I managed to survive. I am very excited about the convocation as this will be my second convocation. During my study years, often times I felt like I wanted to give up but I keep going at my own pace,” Musfirah confessed.

As for Siti Aishah, she went on to say that, she used to feel so excited back then whenever she thought about her convocation. As of now, she is more concerned with her parents’ happiness rather than her own and how they will be proud seeing her on the stage receiving her scrolls.

  1. What are your hopes for the next part of your life?

“I am living the next part of my life as I am currently working as a subtitle editor and managed to secure the job permanently rather than being a temporary worker and I love it so far. I think I might have secured the subtitle editor post because of my language proficiency,” Musfirah explained.

As for Muhaimin, he planned to further his studies at master’s degree and PhD. He is also hoping that one time in the future he can contribute back to the society. Besides that, Asmira hoped that she will find a suitable job so she could apply her useful knowledge and experience apart from furthering her studies to PhD level in IIUM.

“What I want in life is that I wanted to be further at the next level especially in studying as it is my flames of passion. Besides that, I want to face the next challenges and spread knowledge to other people,” Aishah added.

  1. Any advice for the students who are still doing their studies?

Asked about any piece of advice for the students, Muhaimin went on to say that students now need to be proactive and all-rounder. He also said that students should study at their own pace and do not forget to absorb as much positive values.

“Last but not least, fasten your seatbelt and enjoy your journey!” he added. Aishah also agreed by advising future graduates to study and to graduate at their own pace.

She also added by saying that, “passion in knowledge seeking is very important in learning as it would ensure you learn it wholeheartedly”.

“I encourage them to always be positive and high-spirited towards their study in IIUM. My advice to them is do not give up when facing any problems, rather, consult people around you as IIUM has many things to offer, so do take chances to enjoy them as much as they can,” Asmira told IIUMToday.

Musfirah reminded students and future graduates to have and foster ‘Habluminallah Habluminannas’. She added, “Have a good relationship with Allah SWT and human beings. Besides that, respect all people and never be involved in backbiting people especially your lecturers.”

One can only imagine what one goes through in life in the efforts to get the convocation scroll. On the other side, once they received their scroll it is only just a beginning as the hardest thing is yet to come. Therefore, everyone must place knowledge as top priority whether by education or experience as Marilyn Vos Savant once said, “To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” ***

Picture Credit to hardyhoteldeltasiera

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