University of Malaya – After a few years of struggling between work and studies, I have finally succeeded in submitting my thesis as required for my postgraduate degree. Alhamdulillah, alf shukr ilaik ya Rabb. This is the biggest victory ever granted by Him in my life, the best gift and repayment I could afford for those who have had their share in raising me with compassion and care. I am who I am with the Blessings of Allah through their unconditional love showered, my kindred of blood, religion or mankind.
Pursuing an advanced degree in education was nothing that I had seriously thought of during my early varsity years. I remember that all I wanted was to get a stable job as soon as I graduated. Fear of the tough employment competition in the working world, I decided to commit to part time jobs during my degree. Although the alphabets in my result transcript were not as spectacular as my matriculation results, I knew that such educational compromise would pay off in the future. For knowledge and wisdom are not solely embedded in books but also in the decipherment of the world we live in. As Indy said in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, “You want to be a good archeologist … you’ve got to get out of the library!”.
After a few humbling stints and eventually graduating in 2005, I learned that experiential knowledge should be complemented with theoretical knowledge. Since then I was determined to venture into the scholarly world. Few people scoffed at my plan and there were also those who supported me right from the beginning. Whatever the circumstances were, I persisted with all the might Allah had empowered me.
I was not clear of what I wanted to be then. One thing for sure was that I wanted to give back to society in my own way. I did not and still do not possess the abundant material wealth that could be trickled down on others with philanthropy. However, I truly hope that I would be able to contribute with the knowledge I seek. Only the stream of time and destiny will bring me to where I am made to be.
To my juniors and friends who plan to further their studies, I suggest that you already have in mind on the thesis topic, scope of study, framework of analysis, referrences and contact person from the organisation or group that you wish to study. Start reading journals from local and international scholars and consult experienced lecturers. You will definitely get an idea when you have familiarised yourself with the topic. It is best when you already know what to do before you enroll for your postgraduate studies because it will save a lot of time and money. Nobody told me about this before I took my MA . So I really hope that by knowing this, you guys will not have to go through what I did. Wishing you all the best and stay positive! Allah yahdeekum, insya’allah.