“Smaller achievements breed bigger success” – Wan Norshira

By Qamarina Razali

Everyone dreams to be successful. For every minute and hour, each one of us is working hard to strive for a better future.  

While the definition of success differs from one person to another, it’s important for us to commemorate every little and big achievement that comes in our way – whether it’s our own or somebody else’s.

On the first day of June this year, the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (KIRKHS) held its Virtual Takrim Al-Akadimiyyin, where academic staffs and administrative workers were awarded for their significant contributions.

Among the award recipients on that day was Dr. Wan Norshira Wan Mohd Ghazali.

Under the Responsible and Research Innovation category, Dr. Wan Norshira succeeded in securing a promising award for research (Recognition of The Outstanding Contribution of Young Researchers Who Have Contributed Significantly to IIUM Myra Marks Under Research Management Centre – Bronze listed).

Behind most successful stories, I’d say there lies a prequel, a hidden tale to remind us that success does not come easy.

One could say the journey towards greatness is an adventure of its own.

This is her story.

Getting to know Dr. Wan Norshira

Before pursuing into other in-depth stories, let’s get to know a bit more about Dr. Wan Norshira Wan Mohd Ghazali, who I believe is one of inspirational figures in IIUM.

Dr. Wan Norshira is an east coast-born educator, raised in Chendering, Kuala Terengganu.

She obtained her first degree in Communication (Specialised in Print Media) from IIUM. She then pursued her education in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) graduating with a master’s degree in Arts (Communication). Later she pursued her study in the United Kingdom and acquired her Ph.D in Communication (Media & Cultural Studies) from Nottingham Trent University.

She had a brief working experience in the media industry where she was involved with TV9, prior to her pursuing for master’s degree. Meanwhile, during short semester after she came back to teach at IIUM, she went for a short attachment with BERNAMA (Malaysia’s National News Agency) to expose herself to media practices.

Many of us as IIUM students know of Dr. Wan Norshira as a Communication lecturer and a coordinator for IIUMToday.

Dr. Wan Norshira with IIUMToday members.

Of research and academia

According to Dr. Wan Norshira, her conducted research revolved around health journalism.

The focus of the said study is to develop a media guideline in reporting vaccination issues while combating vaccine misinformation on social media. She then explained that the research is aimed to bring journalism as a forefront medium in fighting misinformation that is widespread on social media. At the same time, this research is also carried out to ensure that a systematic and effective network can be established between media professionals and health fraternity.  

The progress of carrying out any work comes with challenges, and sometimes, the situation can become pretty stressful. I am convinced that conducting a research is no less different.

In the interview with Dr. Wan Norshira, she highlighted two key points on how she managed to avoid stressful conditions when doing research.

The first thing that was brought up is time management. To assure that work momentum is maintained, allocating time for research activities every week can help necessitate in achieving that goal.

Secondly, teamwork is the key. Research activities are conducted with a research team. Therefore, she emphasised that this team becomes a source of her motivation, as the support and inclusiveness given towards one another had fuelled her to keep moving forward.

When asked about her future plans in the academic field, Dr. Wan Norshira said, “Research is something continuous in the academic world. In fact, I always have research ideas that trigger my mind when I look at certain situation.”

However, she believes that she needs to focus on one work at a time before considering the option to apply for another research grant. Most importantly, she wants to be able to give full dedication towards her current research until targets that have been set at the beginning of the study are achieved.

In the present time, commitment towards students is her number one priority, aside from conducting research.

The year 2020 marks the fourth year of Dr. Wan Norshira being an IIUM lecturer. She humbly admits that she is still in the process of learning, hence, there would always be room for improvements in enhancing skills in academic life.

As the coordinator for IIUMToday, she positively views her position as a chance to contribute to IIUM, the Department and the Kulliyyah, as well as polishing leadership skills at the same time.

Once in a while, she would write for the news portal, because to her she describes writing as “a way to contribute to the society”. “When you write something that is read by others, you are actually contributing your knowledge.”

These are amongst her words that stay with me after the interview. Indeed, the impact of even a few written words is immense towards the society. Any knowledge that is beneficial is worth sharing.

Dr. Wan Norshira with Communication Department members during a retreat.

Advice for fellow students

To see a person being capable of achieving great things at a young age may cause one to wonder if there are underlying secrets behind those accomplishments.

For Dr. Wan Norshira, there are no such secrets to her achievements. But she did share some advice.

“I think everyone knows that if you want something, you need to set goals so that your mind and body will work towards it.”

She, too, underlines the importance of doing supplications to Allah. This piece of advice, I trust, is not unfamiliar to many of us as without a doubt, we believe that rizq and all lavishness in this world come from Al-Wahhab, The Bestower. 

She also earnestly reminds that correcting your intention is amongst other crucial things to take note of. “It’s because with the right intention, everything we do will become more meaningful.”

Furthermore, the belief that “small achievements breed bigger success,” is why Dr. Wan Norshira encourages to make an effort in achieving small accomplishments every day.

Her next advice to students specifically is to focus on these three steps – set your goals, manage time wisely and just do it.

There are other striking words that were said by Dr. Wan Norshira that personally hit close to home. Those final words were, “There is no exact recipe (for success) because the outcome will only be achieved if you do something.” ***

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