The day everything became impossible
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Can a human being hold a Master’s degree or even a PhD? How is it possible? I believe it is impossible! I still don’t understand what Postgraduate schools offer?
My biggest goal I ever set in my school days was to be a Master or PhD holder. I used to say that successful people are relentless goal setters who never give up. I worked hard and I hoped my dream would come true one day. But that dream suddenly came to an end.
It was two years ago and I was a junior Art student at a university in Somalia. At that time we were taking Research Methodology course. Our lecturer ordered us to write a research proposal in groups with two-three students. My group selected me as the group leader. All groups started to select several topics and show the teacher. After his recommendations, he told us to do the proposal. He assigned the deadline and promised supervision. The work was immediately started.
It felt like every group wanted to surpass others and that there was a fierce competition between the fast students. All groups, except ours, just downloaded written proposals, renamed them and submitted. My colleagues suggested doing the same, but I opposed and told them that cheating would never give us anything.
We took the title approved by the teacher, wrote research objectives, questions, a literature review, questionnaires and whatever we could to avoid cheating and test our ability. We took our work to be supervised by the lecturer before the deadline many times, but we never saw him. “He is busy. He went to city X. He doesn’t work at this time, come back tomorrow.” Those were the answers when we tried to meet him in his office.
Finally, we submitted our original work. Because of lack of supervision, it became quite shallow, but meaningful.
One day, one of my classmates told me that the course result had been released. I and the rest of my group were willing that the cheaters would earn a zero or at least something not good as ours. Personally I thought that I would defeat my rivals for the scholarship of the school. But things went another way. The professor gave us a poor grade while other groups got 100% or 90%. I was shocked. Moreover, the rest of my team yelled at me saying. “Poor leader! Why did you reject to download a written one? Didn’t we give you an advice? Look at our competitors”. I had nothing to say as I was the source of their problem.
I and another student went to the teacher to ask him about the matter. “You didn’t write a good proposal and you deserved smaller marks" said the teacher. “Isn’t it clear that we wrote own but others copied from outside?” we asked. We had a little more argument. Finally he said, “I don’t care whether it was original. I just graded what is written on the books”. What a disappointment! I asked my friends to forgive me.
Since then, when I hear words like research proposal, thesis, report, I see it as something impossible to do. I used to dream to be a PhD holder but I think I was wrong at that time. Whenever a friend or a family member asks me to go to Post Graduate school, I simply say “there is thesis” because I don’t think I can do it.