Embracing the IIUM culture

By Amir Azmir

What is expected when one registers as a student of IIUM? It is understood that each of us came from different backgrounds, so did we have to adopt a new lifestyle upon entering this one-of-a-kind university?

Or has it been harmonious with our current culture and social upbringing all along? What is the culture of this international and Islamic university anyway?

Out of all honesty, I don’t believe that I’m the most qualified to elaborate on this issue as I’ve barely been a student here for a year but I certainly do have an opinion or point of view to ponder. 

It is commonly agreed that generally, our university here provides a rather different environment or surrounding if compared to many other local universities in the country. One that presents a social setting that is deemed Islamic. One of the obvious proofs of it being as such is the university dress code and the huge number of religious programmes that are conducted every now and then on campus, among many others.

However, a question arises. Is the IIUM culture only about ‘covering up’ and surrounding ourselves with good people? Or is there a bigger picture that many of us still fail to see?

Leading the Way

Well, I believe that the answer to that question is something that many of us know yet fail to acknowledge which is the fact that there certainly is more to it than just dressing properly and finding good company to be with.

The title of the official song of IIUM, “Leading the Way” brings significance regarding this issue. Among the objectives of the establishment of this university is to give birth to graduates of comprehensive excellence that are well equipped to “lead the way” and be role models in many sections of the professional world while not abandoning the aspects of virtue and Islamic ethics. In other words, to be well-rounded leaders of the contemporary world.

Hence, to fully realise this objective, a student must truly be one with the philosophy of IIUM which deals with matters that are way beyond what is tangible.

So what is actually expected from us as students to realise the idealistic culture of the university? In my humble opinion, the least we could do is to appreciate the university’s efforts in trying to achieve its objective which is to become a “leading international centre of educational excellence”, as cited in the IIUM website.

Try our best to cooperate with the university’s authority, always respect all lecturers and abide by the rules and regulations, among many other things. And yes, study hard. It is totally understandable that each of us is from different background and it might be difficult for some to live up with what is expected from us here but as the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy.

And I believe that with the proper amount of efforts and will by everybody, excellence can, in fact, be achieved.

Love and Compassion

We must instil in ourselves this merciful outlook on life and see people with love and compassion instead of just focusing on their flaws no matter how apparent they are. When we start to appreciate the potential that all the students hold and the possible bright future that they have, surely we can make the world a better place in the long-run and not be set back by the qualities that we see as missing in the university’s students.

It may be true that we have a long way to go to shape ourselves enough and be prepared for the world outside, but I think that the current progress shown is highly commendable and we have to keep having faith and try our best to do what we can.

A point to add is regarding the current culture or lifestyle of the students here. I honestly have no comment on its deficiencies or strengths and would rather stress on how I’m really fascinated by the fact that the students here are so diverse.

Appreciating Diversity

It never fails to interest me when I witness the presence of diversity in the characters and choice of behaviours of many of the students here, be it the international or local ones. I prefer to just appreciate it and focus on how the goal of the university can, in fact, be achieved even when the diversity is apparent.

As a matter of fact, perhaps it is the diversity that will make the objective even easier to achieve, with all the unique qualities and way of thinking of each student.

All in all, I believe the university has a huge potential of producing graduates who are highly competent in the professional world and have the qualities of vicegerents that can bring good to the world in the future. ***

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