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Graduates share journey to success

Izah Azahari

Completing a programme is always a life achievement, especially after facing various challenges head on while focussing on studies.

As Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) feted its graduates in the 33rd UBD Convocation Ceremony yesterday, the Sunday Bulletin spoke with a number of graduates during the joyous occasion.

Master of Defence and Security Studies graduate Lieutenant Colonel Fakhrul Ammar bin Haji Mohammad Isa said studying part-time poses own challenges, as work had to come first, adding that there were times when he felt that education was the lowest of his priorites.

Being a part-time student did not allow opportunities to participate in group or university activities, said the graduate, since his course was a matriculation from his Graduate Diploma.

Thankfully, completing the paper was achievable with guidance from his supervisor, reminding him that despite the difficult times, remaining determined and focussed was what was needed to get the job done.

ABOVE & BELOW: Lieutenant Colonel Fakhrul Ammar bin Haji Mohammad Isa; and Aqilah Najiah binti Abdullah with her parents. PHOTOS: ADIB NOOR

The supervisors also made it an enjoyable experience by being flexible, knowing his work commitments, and always making time to provide consultancy and assistance, Lieutenant Colonel Fakhrul Ammar said.

He also found technological assistance to be of great help, allowing him to communicate with the faculty remotely.

He also conveyed appreciation to UBD for supporting him through the journey.

“Alhamdulillah, with the support from my family and the Royal Brunei Armes Forces (RBAF), my aim of furthering my studies came true. I wish to thank the RBAF for providing me with the opportunity to further my studies and encouraging lifelong learning. The skills and knowledge obtained from the course not only elevate my professional development, but also spearhead my personal development. To my colleagues, who wish to further their studies, go for it. You can do it!”

Meanwhile, Michelle Poh Wan Pei pursued her studies in Master of Teaching while working in a private institution.

She said the change in the education system due to the outbreak did not affect her, as she was able to complete both her placements physically.

When UBD classes resumed online after the first semester, she said,” It was nice to attend classes in the comfort of our homes. Nonetheless, not being able to meet our peers made the discussions less engaging.”

The Master of Teaching graduate shared that one of the main factors that strongly motivated her to succeed in her studies was her personal growth, as she wanted to hone her teaching skills. She also admitted to denying her interest in education when her peers tried to persuade her to take up teaching as a career.

“As it turned out, my job preference after my undergraduate degree leaned towards education. So here I am,” Poh said.

Meanwhile, Aqilah Najiah binti Abdullah, who graduated from Master of Logistics, said having originally graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English, she essentially took a big leap of faith in changing course. Besides her secondary education, she had not had any business foundation, especially in Logistics. As a result, her journey was quite a steep learning curve.

“I took this Master’s programme because I knew at the time that it was a niche discipline, paired with my general interest in the subject,” said Aqilah Najiah, adding that the newly-acquired qualification will improve her employability with regards to knowledge, experience and skills.

On starting the programme, Aqilah Najiah said it was during the first wave of COVID-19 outbreak. Blended learning of both physical and online classes were adopted, and being accustomed to physical learning made the course challenging for her initially as she was learning concepts of which she had no prior knowledge.

“Among the memorable challenges I faced was when we were introduced to logistical calculation that required prior knowledge of additional mathematics. To overcome this, I had to communicate my struggles to a lecturer.

“Alhamdulillah, my lecturer was understanding and provided us with a few extra lessons, sharing more materials to help us grasp the subject,” said Aqilah Najiah.

She added that her peers were also tremendously helpful, when it came to sharing knowledge and materials and studying together.

She said,” Surround yourself with positive people as teamwork is important, sharing is caring, and it’s alright to get out of your comfort zone because as cliché as it is, you never know what you could learn by doing so.”

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