Extracted from experience and wisdom, the words of a mentor can turn around the morale of any student.
The graduates of the Islamabad Model College for Girls (Postgraduate) F-7/2 listened intently as Columbia University Medical Centre Professor of Medicine Dr Azra Raza delivered a speech at the college’s 41st convocation on Friday.
Her address broke the mould of typical speeches that attempt to inject students with enthusiasm with oft-frivolous academic jargon.
Raza said, “Some of you know what you are going to do in the coming years, others are still searching. But all of you have anticipation and apprehension of an unknown future.”
Like she said, many were not sure about what to do next. Even Maryam Khan, recipient of Punjab University (MSc Textile) and Firdausi Akram Sheikh Award, wasn’t sure of what her next step will be.
Beenish Waheed on the other hand, also of MSc Textile, has already been running a small clothing boutique, first out of a salon, then her house.
Other parts of Raza’s speech also clicked with students and their teachers, as she reminisced about her time in the college, back when the building consisted of a few shacks enclosed by a low boundary wall. The students, she said, did not care about the lack of resources but focused on the good mentorship they had.
The college has come a long way since, with a well-built campus and more resources.
At the ceremony, 395 graduates and 79 postgraduates were conferred degrees in BA, BSc, Home Economics, Applied Psychology, Arabic, Economics, Textile and Islamiat. Ninety-two ended up on the Roll of Honour.
Raza also shared her experience of working closely with cancer patients. Taking care of patients, she said, is the hardest part that can’t come with a degree but innate sensitivity.
She urged the young graduates to not only strive for a career but also work to help better their community.
“For every Sharmeen Obaid success story, you have thousands who were not even allowed to dream dreams; remember them in your success.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2012.