Stories about college

Great grades mean nothing if you don’t have a chaperone – or a Y chromosome

Meet Maheen*: a hardworking final year A’ Level student. By hardworking, I mean that when Maheen received a B in Chemistry, having lost out by a mark, she stayed back in the library for hours on end every day for three weeks, to finally get an A in the finals. It’s that kind of hard work that translated into 14 As in her O’ Levels, seven of which were A*. Naturally, she had straight As in her AS Levels. She is the kind of girl that you assume will apply to the best colleges. But Maheen is not calling the ...

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13 Pakistanis you will meet in US colleges

This post refers mostly to the, gently put, “fresh off the boat” Pakistani students studying in the States. Some might be a mix of multiple categories, and some none. I’m not sure if the same kinds of Pakistani students are at every campus, but these are the ones I’ve come across on a few campuses across the States: 1) The Princess: So you may have been the best looking girl in your elite school’s class of 20 or so kids, but you’re pretty average looking on this campus of thousands of students. It might be time for a reality check… or ...

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What’s the worst thing that can happen in an examination hall?

What is the worst thing that can happen to you in an examination hall? That you are caught cheating? Or, that you prepared for the wrong exam? No. Of course those things are pretty bad, but the worst thing that can happen to you in an examination hall is to be sexually harassed by the invigilator. Picture this: you are busy thinking about some weird biology term or phenomenon that could ruin your grade if you jumble it up. You are drenched in sweat because the fans are out of order. The windows are broken so the sunlight pierces through and hits your ...

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My art is not for you Prime Minister Gilani

My friend stood painting something abstract, holding a cigarette  in a manner that complimented her artistic persona. She probably noticed my sarcastic smile and said, ‘Hey Ammar! I know you criticize abstract art, but you see artists are free souls. We don’t believe in any rules, regulations and boundaries. We choose to be apolitical and are not disciplined folks at all. Discipline and art do not go along.” I remained silent looking at something black lying next to her bag. She continued, “What are you looking at? The graduation gown? That’s for the convocation dress rehearsal. Everything has to be ...

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Dear IBA, your policy-makers need a heart

I am a student of Institute of Business Administration (IBA). For four years  I had been grateful towards the institute but now, when I needed it most, IBA bailed on me. During the last few days of my Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) programme, my father fell extremely ill and passed away with an unfulfilled wish – to see me graduate. Coincidentally, my father’s illness and my second set of midterms clashed. I missed three exams because he lay unconscious in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I needed to talk to the doctors; to do a crash course in medicine to understand my father’s ...

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‘Professor sahab, please help me get in to college’

It has been a good seven months now. And I am still not done with my college applications. At first, the process seemed as simple as looking for the right university. I narrowed down my list of choices to Canada, googled a list of Master’s programmes and found myself overwhelmed with the choices. “British Columbia is too cold, you’ll freeze to death!” “Do you even know how far Vancouver is? It’s like a whole other country.” “Ontario sahi hai.” The next step was fairly straightforward. Look up the requirements for these universities and make sure you meet them. The worst part of it ...

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Doctors have to eat too

As a medical student, I have witnessed the doctor verus government tussle from the get go. Firstly,  let me clarify that this is not a protest – this is a breaking point. Doctors have been protesting for years and the government paid little, if any, attention. The facts leading up to this month’s events are actually understandable to anybody who has been to a hospital ward. Serving humanity or bank accounts? The first question in a medical student’s life is where he will work after MBBS. This is no joke. An estimated 1,500 doctors leave Pakistan every year to work abroad. This year ...

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Young guns in UK unite for Pakistan

It’s going to be an exciting weekend in Pakistan. Future leaders from all over the country will gather in Islamabad for the Pakistan Young Leader’s Conference until 27th February. The aim of the conference is to help solve some of the crucial problems and issues currently facing Pakistan. The whole conference is solution oriented. Earlier this week the PYLC was also held in UK. The event took place at the prestigious Oxford University over the weekend of February 11-13. I had the opportunity to participate in the event, not only as a delegate for the Women Empowerment Committee but also as ...

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Taking the GMAT: Easier said than done

My university deserves credit for teaching me one great skill: passing an exam by studying just a couple of hours before the paper. However, two years after graduation, as I studied for another important exam I found that I did not have the same focus or zeal that I had in college. Unfortunately, the exam I was studying for was the GMAT. . The low down GMAT is not your run-of-the-mill exam. It cannot be attempted successfully by ratto-fying (or rote learning). If you have a good memory, you might be able to do well in one or two sections of the exam, ...

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Teach for Pakistan: Sharing the wealth of knowledge

Those of us who are brimming with patriotic fervour now have an outlet to use this energy constructively. This past week I saw a video for the Teach for Pakistan campaign that seeks to recruit professionals who have the potential to be educators. The idea is to train people accepted into the program to be inspirational teachers and to partner with government schools which are facing problems such as an absence of teachers or poor teachers. What I like about this is that the Teach for Pakistan program focuses on a specific problem and tries to fix it. Roots of ...

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