There’s always time to seek and gain knowledge
A lot of young people never complete education because they feel the age to study has passed. Either that or they are too embarrassed of what people will say. They may all have valid reasons, but the only valid reason I can agree with are financial problems at home.
I have had a bit of all the problems just mentioned. However, that did not stop me from sneaking out to the local high school in Riyadh belonging to a neighbouring South Asian country, with my bald patch, to get enrolled in class nine. I had no support from my parents.
Next day, I arrived at school at the ripe old age of 30, wearing my uniform to attend the assembly. I didn’t look too out of place because of my slim figure and baby face, which made me look not much older than the rest. Maybe I looked 25.
The day at school was like any other routine day, where as soon as I entered the chemistry lab, I saw a bunch of uniformed boys standing against the wall and I was asked to join them. I was innocent and had no idea about what was happening, but reluctantly agreed. This went on until the completion of my HSC successfully in that school.
The secret to my surviving? I never acted or reacted as an adult, and hardly let my ego come in the way. On the side of the young people, they were amazingly mature, taking me in as one of them. In fact, their friendly encounters and juvenile antics made me look forward to each day in school. So I patiently studied.
After completing my HSC in 2010, I again had a gap of five years due to my father’s death, which brought me to my family who had migrated back here after my father’s death in 2011. In 2015, I walked into Independent University, Bangladesh. Known for its diversity and research approach, after a little name-dropping, the university took me in as an experiment.
Again, I had no family support here, who thought it was too late and dangerous to study here. However, now they were supporting me by paying my tuition fees. As any rat or mouse used for an experiment, I did suffer in the beginning.
However, I gained immense unwanted popularity, mostly negative but also some positive. The very first day I entered the classroom, other students stood up, considering me a faculty. Guards still stand up to salute me, and once a talk show host thought of me as a Dean or VC.
I continue to face a lot of questions and speculation for which I still have to answer and clear up matters, because of which I continue to face jeering on social media. I have gained a lot personally, and at the end of the day I am getting to know today’s youth, which is a big target market for us marketers (I am a marketing student) and yes, I am going to be a first class citizen after obtaining my bachelor’s degree next year.
The key to success once again is joining the crowd, but also keeping your distance which I did not do, and keeping your ego at home. You will in this way feel a sense of personal belonging and studying will become like a study game.
Syed Raiyan is a freelance contributor.