37th Convocation: Father’s hope is the catalyst for not giving up

By Auni Zarifah

GOMBAK, 14 AUGUST 2022: “Take it one day at a time” is a phrase to describe the hardship Mohd Khairun Nizam Bin Abd Ghani faced in completing his master’s degree. 

Khairun Nizam, one of the graduates from Kuliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences (KENMS) received his scroll today at the second session of the 37th IIUM Convocation Ceremony. 

The hall was full of applause during his presence on the stage as he received the scroll while on a wheelchair. Behind the smile today, there were a lot unwritten hardships, but remain dear to his heart and mind before the eye can see the success. 

Talking to IIUMToday, three years in completing a master’s degree was not a journey full of roses. Giving up was always on his mind throughout his studies but his action was otherwise.

“Normally people finish the master’s degree in two years but I had to finish in three years which is longer than normal. But still, I want to finish this journey for people that I love and people who are always beside me, ” said Khairun Nizam.

Three years of struggle not only in academics but the life challenges he faced surely should be an inspiration for students in facing the academic struggle. When life gives you a lemon, turning it into lemonade can be understood from his story. 

The 40-year-old Khairun Nizam said his father hoped for him to climb up the academic ladder until he got a PhD and become the catalyst for him to move forward. 

The Master of Science (Marketing) holder had an accident during his journey to accomplishing his master’s degree that forced him to rely on a wheelchair. Not only that, his business was also impacted due to Covid-19 that made him work extra harder for financial sources. 

Despites the calamities that have changed his life, he became a wiser person with a strong-willed heart.

Back to academia after 10 years finishing his bachelor’s degree was not an easy decision and experience. 

“When I have not been a student for 10 years, it is kind of hard for me to catch up at the initial stage of my master’s degree. I need to adjust to life as a student after venturing into the working environment for almost 10 years, ” he added. 

But for him, where there is a will there must be a way. Juggling between the financial and academic struggles with his disability was indeed not an easy journey but with the support of his family, everything was possible.

Khairun Nizam also mentioned adjustment to online learning was another obstacle for him to finish this journey. Nevertheless, he managed to adapt to the changes in the learning journey. 

Another experience that was dear to his heart was when other students finished their thesis in two years while he was still at the initial stage of writing even after a year of study.

“With my supervisor’s support and my father’s hope, I will not give up to continue and finish it. I can say postgraduate is a lonely journey then motivation and drive for this journey literally needed”. 

The PhD candidate from KENMS also delivers a message for the students out there to reflect upon. 

“Being a student is all about discipline and do not ever procrastinate your work and having a good time management is a must”. 

Aspiring to become an academician, Khairun Nizam mentioned that IIUM is already a second house for him. From bachelor’s degree and currently enrolled in a doctorate programme, the memories of his upside down beneath every corner of the garden of knowledge and virtue.

On the matter of discrimination toward disabled people, Khairun mentioned he never had difficulties despite his disability during his journey in IIUM. The support, and the facilities indeed make it easy for him to complete this memorable journey. 

On the last note, Khairun mentioned “if a person with a disability like him can make it possible, hence it is not possible for people without disability”.***

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