Stories about university

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 ...

Read Full Post

A procrastinator’s guide to studying

Organise: It is hard to find all your notes, past problem sets, highlighters and post-its when your desk looks as if a monkey had been dancing on it. Studying would be very unproductive if you can’t locate the right supplies at the right time, so you start with organising the desk. While doing that, you find a picture of you and your friend from high school at a picnic on the beach. You realise it’s been a while since you called him, so you decide to do that first. Concentrate: The rainy weather outside is adding to your exam anxiety, ...

Read Full Post

‘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 ...

Read Full Post

The clean shaven, liberal Taliban

A few days ago, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government formed a committee, headed by a female legislator, to probe the matter of university teachers “harassing and physically abusing” their female students. Abuse of female students by teachers is not a new phenomenon. At least those who study or teach on campuses know this fact. It is somewhat an open secret. However, the scale to which this crime has grown , no longer allows it to remain hushed up. The issue has, in fact, become the talk of the town in Peshawar. While there is no official confirmation as to who was involved the ...

Read Full Post

Girls just wanna… go to Risalpur

My best friend wants to be an air force pilot. She (yes, it’s a she) has wanted to be one since she first watched Top Gun. She can tell you the model number of any jet and its year of make by just looking at a picture. While everyone else our age stalks the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) website, she has the Pakistan Air Force website as her ‘most visited’. Risalpur is her future home. During the past six months, I have been forced to memorise the lyrics of “Highway to the Danger Zone” and google its 1980s Pakistani ...

Read Full Post

Is your Islam better than mine?

Growing up, I studied about the history of Islam, religious battles and tales of bravery in our compulsory Islamic Studies class at school. I was taught to learn and believe in the religion – and so I did. Then, I went to college. My romanticized opinions were shattered when I took a course on  religious studies. As I entered a new discourse, one that compared Islam to  Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, I found myself questioning my preconceived notions of righteousness. The class taught us the difference between “rational thought” and religion. When I looked around my class I felt orthodox, but certainly not superior. By comparing rationality to ...

Read Full Post

SOS call for higher education

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has functioned brilliantly in recent years. It had numerous achievements, but one of the more tangible ones was the significant improvement in the quality and quantity of the research work undertaken in universities across the country. The present government has announced that it will devolve the HEC to the provinces, while stating that this was required under the 18th Amendment, and that education will now be the sole domain of the provinces. HEC officials however dismissed the proposed devolution under the 18th amendment, while maintaining that the commission was an independent institution that was functioning directly ...

Read Full Post

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, ...

Read Full Post

Your university next door

A rare and happy confluence, the seeker and the sought in mutual hot pursuit. While the growing body of students is chasing higher degrees and diplomas, education itself, as it were, is hunting for talents to groom. Man closes one door, God opens another. Choosy public schools and colleges have now few applicants begging for entrance as newspapers are full of new institutions with an open arms policy for anyone who has the resources for bettering his or her future. Bernard Shaw, who said “what we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit ...

Read Full Post

I heart Karachi until foreign university folk arrive

When I’m feeling bored, I put on my ‘I heart Khi’ tee-shirt with the little red heart against a black background. You can see the signs spray painted all over the city from Zamzama to Sharae Faisal. (The logo was the brainchild of the late artist Asim Butt). Whenever I put the tee-shirt on, I always feel slightly smug with the thought that I’m part of an 18-million people strong city. Thank you Pakistan Studies Geography. Last week though, that air of superiority came crashing down around my ears and in disgust I threw that tee-shirt into the back of ...

Read Full Post