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Friday, October 24, 2008

"The one with the end of a beginning, and the beginning of an end..."

This week marked the culmination of UPM's 32nd Annual Convocation. Talking from experience, I am sure it was memorable for the majority that spawned the legions of hordes on varsity soil since last weekend.

And congratulations to Sarah for being a part of it this year! We're proud of you girl; another down and one left to go. I'll be joining your parade soon enough, insyaAllah.

Looking back, it's not an easy path towards congregration. Amidst speculation, students don't really benefit from the luxury and perception that an undergraduate's life is all basked in freedom and independance. In consolation, it may even be more of a restriction in a manner of senses. University-level education forces oneself to adapt towards a more matured point-of-view; insinuating higher decrees in terms of self-management, time-management and carrier building perspectives. Look at it, as building blocks to one's whole future. This is where your adult life picks up, converge and leads on. If you've done it right, arriving to this end would convey the start of another phase - the world itself.

Having said that, these are of course, meant only for the ones at this end of the uni-road. 

But for those still on the bandwagon; these are the brave knights, exhibiting no fear, proud on their steeds fighting their battles at war. Well here's the scoop - somehow, the convocation this year resonates quite in tune with the semester finals as well. So, entailing with this month the atmosphere is partly halved; one faction consists of happy and tranquil faces, while the other spots a smirk of anxiousness and worry. Of course, I'm nowhere blaming the latters for their poignant exteriors - for this is also something I can personally relate to from memory. I remember quite fondly of how daunting it was walking into the exam hall for the first time, a virgin when it comes to university-level papers. Its like sucking on asam - the first few moments are filled with excruciatingly bitter feelings but as you keep on sucking in the end you're left with that feeling of excitement. Kesedapan, as they'd say in Malay. Don't lie - in clandestine you guys know I'm right, right?

I had the opportunity to invigilate one paper this semester - SKP2101 Kenegaraan Malaysia. But the feeling was lobsided this time. This instance the situation was flipped; rather than being the one prepping for the exams, like an eagle I was now an anonymous figure looking over the shoulders of students frantically scratching their skulls in hopes that the answers would flake off like dandruff from their heads. Instead of waiting outside the hall before the exam commences, I was in 30 minutes prior to set up the questions onto designated tables and chairs. I checked matric cards and exam slips. I made sure no bags were brought into the hall. Made sure all phones were either on the table or within the confines of their pockets in silent mode.

The feeling was now different. Suddenly I sank into the thought of how frightening it must be for these youngsters.  I miss those old times. Although I'd think twice of reliving them, it is something that's burned into my memories which I'd like to keep forever. I realised that the path I've treaded leading to where I am now was previously paved and laid of ridicule tiles; from humble and small beginnings. But now, I'm proud of myself - I really do think that I've gone far and challenged myself to betterment. Really believing that I can go further. The best thing is that I am on my way there, now.

But truth be told, now that I'm in the Academic line - it's not that easy to be teaching as well. I was taught this dire fact yesterday. Imagine : being in a faculty curriculum meeting that lasted for a full 9-hours, from 9 am to 6:30 pm. No breaks except for an hour lunch curfew. All for the benefit of our biggest client; our students.

Students fail to realise this. But we work as hard as they do. So more reasons for them to strive further.

-JeP

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