A total of 629 graduates yesterday received their Level 5 certificates during the 7th Politeknik Brunei (PB) Convocation Ceremony held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas that was divided into two sessions, in the morning and afternoon.
The convocation was supposed to take place last October but was postponed to yesterday due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman as the guest of honour graced the ceremony and presented certificates to the graduates as well as the overall Best Student and Academic Excellence Awards.
Muhammad Afdlin Saufee Iylias bin Haji Mohammad Suffian from School of Business was the first to obtain a perfect grade point average score in PB. He was awarded the Overall Best Student and Academic Excellence awards in Business Studies.
“It’s one of the most unexpected achievements in my life. It is very meaningful,” he said. However Muhammad Afdlin Saufee Iylias, who is currently studying Economics and Finance at Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) almost didn’t attend the ceremony.
“I wasn’t planning to come to the convocation because I was very worried about the risk of COVID-19 transmission, for the safety of my family. I had a discussion with my family and friends. They encouraged me to come; it’s not something that happens every day.”
He also touched on the challenges faced in studies during the pandemic. “We struggled with studying and carrying out assignments online,” the 20-year-old revealed. “But we have to embrace this because it’s the new norm. When we live in unprecedented times, we need to learn to adapt”.
Explaining his success, he said, “I believe in working smart – to be efficient by completing tasks in minimal amount of time with maximum effort. I do most of my work on my phone.
If I have an idea, I would note it down in my phone. I am a curious person so I like to find answers on my own.”
Meanwhile, the Academic Excellence Award in Digital Media was given to Abdul Hadi bin Shukor.
“The recognition means a lot to me,” he said. “I have been working hard and dreaming of getting this.”
Digital media remains his passion. “I have always wanted to be a graphic designer. Right now, I am studying Creative Multimedia at UTB. But I’m also worried about future employment, so I’m freelancing part-time.”
This contrasted with the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award in Business Studies (Marketing) Nurin Aqilah binti Saidin who admitted, “I am worried about gaining employment.
But I don’t want to think about it right now. I feel that if it’s meant for you, then it will happen.”
Nurin Aqilah was surprised and happy about her award. “It’s unexpected and I feel really proud to receive the award. It motivates me to work even harder now as I am studying Business Accounting at UTB.”
She also revealed the difficulties of holding the ceremony during the pandemic. “It’s a little disappointing that my parents cannot witness my graduation and award in person.”
This was echoed by Rabiatul Afiqah binti Hamdan, who received the Academic Excellence Award in Business Accounting and Finance.
“The saddest part is that our parents are not allowed to attend and we can’t graduate together with some of our friends as the ceremony is split into two sessions.“
Still, she was grateful for her award. “The award is a recognition of my hard work. I am thankful for the people who have supported me over the three years of the course.”
The future seems promising for her. “The course also teaches us entrepreneurship as well as business law. I will have many opportunities to explore.“
Despite this positivity, she admitted, “I do worry about getting a job, so I’m also thinking of starting my own business. In my final year project, we opened a frozen food company.”
This entrepreneurial spirit was also displayed by one of the graduates Mohd Azhar, who is studying Design and Creative Industry at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. “I believe that we need to be self-reliant rather than rely on the public sector. My goal is to set up a video production company.“
For Mohd Azhar, learning during the pandemic was particularly difficult. He said, “For my course, we were required to carry out video productions, so the pandemic impacted the shooting.”
Still, being able to learn about video production was worth it.
“When I was in secondary level, I already knew I wanted to focus on video production. I chose PB to have a hands-on learning experience.“
Nadeeyea binti Mohd Muslley was the only graduate who also obtained the Nebosh International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.
She paid for the test with her own money, setting her back around BND2,500. “I took the test during my internship. The test was tough. So I am glad that I was able to pass. I was the only student to take the Nebosh test during that time,” she said.