Saturday, June 28, 2014

The End Is Near: #Graduation #HappyEnding

Sounds like a doomsday movie title - "The End Is Near" - but it is actually a happy ending for me. My lifetime of education is coming to a grand end as I complete my MBA degree this summer with a rocking GPA alhamdulillah [all praise be to Allah]. It has been a wild, wild ride and I have ridden without seat belts if you know what I mean. What follows suite is a lifetime vacation with solid adventures!


Montessori school is a memory of grey school uniform with an easy-rip skinny legging, twin alien-antennae ponytails, weird kids, and scary teachers. Math established itself as my worst nightmare, why? Because it was being taught by Miss Saeeda the Slapper who liked slapping my cheeks for opening my mouth, or making a mistake. I fell in love with English because an angelic Miss Asma taught it, and managed to end my stand-in-the-corner-for-9000 hours punishments inflicted by the Slapper. Urdu (home country's language) was terrible because I doodled the alphabets and Saeeda beat me up! It required serious work because my handwriting was a bowl of spaghetti (no meatballs!). My only gold stars were in English. The girls were "Toddlers in Tiaras" and boys were "Denises the Menaces" and I chose to stay away. I have always been the happy loner in Game Classes who just wanted to grab a blocks game for myself to play with, or to read a story book.

Elementary years began at a Parsi school that was a bit too strict to be called humane. I wasn't allowed to tie ponytails with anything but a black rubber band. They don't make black rubber bands for common use. Henna on festivals like Eid was prohibited. Fancy pencil boxes, stationery, and practically everything with life and colors in it was prohibited. My self-esteem was punctured here in a course of nine years by dictator teachers who ate up my grades because I refused to get their private services for home tutoring. The school was full of bullies who always managed to find me. Their interests were my ponytails (that I eventually stopped making, before they could pull them out of my skull), my lunchbox (that mum stuffed with goodness), and my self - the punching bag.

A 2nd grade Math teacher was caught chucking my grade off each time by miscalculating the total marks on tests, or simply marking a right answer wrong. She wrote long notes to my family recommending home tutoring. Her agenda sounded like I had a disease where I couldn't do Math. Home tutoring was mom's zone, and you don't mess with mom. Dad had to tell this woman to grade right unless she wanted her face in the morning news. My problem with Math was over.

I also remember forced P.E. lessons by a seriously overweight lady who made my life miserable every Tuesday and Thursday. I was getting fat and she liked to point that out a bit too much. She had a whistle that I secretly fantasized shoving down her double chin. Think Agatha Trunchbull but only more midget.

Kids who chose to take home tutoring from school teachers enjoyed special favors in class. Think Draco Malfoy! They were the bullies that made my non-tutored life miserable. They got extra points, mistakenly calculated plus points, turns to speak and answer in class, and so on.

Middle School years were when I dived head straight into battling with the academic monsters and scoring some tight grades. There were nightmares of course: the Maths Divorcee who called me Humpty Dumpty for 2 years and never missed a chance to insult me before the class (she threw textbooks down the third floor for God's sake, there was something wrong!) the Sindhi Sisters who made me work to the bone to get their language right, and so on. I struggled hard in sixth grade but in vain. In 7th though I scored a 2nd rank on top of the class and earned a silver star. I also won a prize for scoring a distinction in Geography. I had seriously offended the girl who always scored a 2nd rank.

Higher Secondary was where I met Lady Snape in a Chemistry lab in 9th grade. She scared me more than lighting a matchstick and burning a magnesium ribbon to test for Oxygen. The lady never returned my smile. I loved Biology, the teacher was an angel. The study pressure was on, but I was sick of studying the local matriculation system where examiners and paper graders were selling grades to folks who didn't even know how to spell their names right. I always managed a 3rd or 4th place on an average despite the heavy duty work.

I decided to switch schools and take up the GCE O'Levels.

The change was the biggest breakthrough of my life. It felt like life switched from being a technicolor movie to an HD full color spectrum. The new school was liberal, colorful, and despite the internal teaching politics I was sure that the final papers would be graded by international, qualified, and unbiased graders.

High School was well ... high school drama, and working hard for good grades. Without exaggeration, I was the Hermione Granger of my class. My grades were not being eaten alive by Grade Godzillas. I did fail on a Math mid-term when I started O'Levels because I had no clue what this Math was all about. I'd been living in a matriculation oblivion, finding values from log books, and they used scientific calculators here. I worked my way up, with extra support classes after school, and some extra tutoring. At this point, I was pursuing Med School.

I also worked on my debates and presentations skills and applied for the Duke of Edinburgh Award [Bronze Standard]. It slipped right into my hands! I have a buddy to thank to help me with a social services activity.

College [A'Levels] began as a wild pursuit for Med School but circumstances and opportunities made me realize that I was making a mistake and not following my instincts. My instincts told me I was brilliant in Biology and Chemistry and an excellent, compassionate human being, but I was not built for Med School. i was built for Business School! Being a doctor was an unreal, impractical dream that I was chasing. It was not a best fit for my lifestyle, my talents, and my art-inclined goals.

Business School made a whole lot of sense. It finally fit in like the right piece of jigsaw puzzle in my life. My grades were brilliant, I rocked at presentations, and I outsmarted everybody else! I graduated with a 3.9 cumulative GPA with a Bachelors in Business Administration. The biggest misfortune was that the school CANCELLED the commencement ceremony. I never wore the cap, gown, and hood! And so, I decided for an action replay - a better, bigger sequel ... a Masters degree.

Post Grad Business School has been a BIGGER adventure. I am graduating with an MBA degree now. This marks the completion of my academic life, and I have a good idea of what I want to do next. I am graduating with a cumulative 4.0 GPA and I have been awarded for 'academic excellence'. I shall be wearing my cap, gown, and hood. Also, I'll be sporting some seriously shiny medallions reflecting my outstanding academic achievements as I walk across the stage.

I have Dad to thank ... he paid for the education!
I have Mom to hug ... she always believed in me, and kept the prayers going to get me through!
I have Lil Sis, Sara to smooch! ... she's been an inspiration, a role model, a guide, and a great tutor (I owe her my rock solid 4.0)

A Happy Ending

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