Graduation in the Time of COROAVIRUS

Ascending The Stairway of Success

12 - Sep - 2020

Finally, Omar Becomes a Graduate!

All people consider this life as a temporal circle, and the universe must come to a strange terminus. I myself have strongly believed in this point since I became conscious and realized whether this or that attitude is right or wrong, so I promised myself to live this life as a commonwealth man. I should have a good life, which looks like what could be said to constitute such a life, and I am succeeding in the areas that I love and wish to have in the near or distant future.

To start with, I have passed a long path of living, learning and struggling, which was full of pains, obstacles, stress and pressure during the school life from grade 1 to 11. However, this does not mean that I have not had any great successes along the way. I was always a distinguished student regardless of my age, getting excellence certificates and participating in various excellence ceremonies and educational camps. For example, I participated in both the First Scientific Summer Camp and the First Winter Camp for Youth. These camps were organized for the distinguished school students who were clever and got high grades, typically above 95% in their school averages.

Grade 11, for all of us, is the grade for choosing which career or university path the school student should join, depending on his/her favorite university major. I decided to choose the literary section because I planned to pursue this major in the university when finishing the High School. I really had a great passion towards the English language; however, I did not have any previous knowledge or a weak proficiency level in English too. The main reason why I chose English was because of an English teacher who had always given me chances to perform as a young English teacher and he was very supportive of my choice. Also, English is a great communication tool to convey the Palestinian cause abroad and to share the real image of the Israeli Occupation, which has been controlling the lands of Palestine by disgraceful ways. In addition, being a Muslim is something most people don't like to hear because they absolutely don't know what Islam means. Therefore, English can be a great way to spread the real image of Islam in the whole world—an image that is absolutely positive. My last year of high school was actually the hardest year mentally and physically, but I did complete it with a mark of 89.7%. It was not the grade I wished to have, but I was satisfied with it because people, Muslims in particular, should accept what Allah has written to them.

After high school, choosing the university itself for me was a hard choice. Literally, there are almost 10 different local universities in the Gaza Strip for students who either want to study literary or scientific majors. To choose one separate university from ten to study at is something not easy to do so. I have been told by many friends to study at this university or that university and each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing IUG is an Excellent Decision

 After some deep thinking, I chose the Islamic University of Gaza because it is one of the top universities of Palestine, and it is recognized locally and globally. In addition, the physical beauty of the Islamic University is really incredible. It always takes my heart away as it has beautiful trees, different kinds of flowers, colorful buildings, and vast green areas to enjoy the beauty of it under the sunshine. More than that, it has a great English Department with excellent and qualified professors and doctors who earned their certificates from large American and British universities like Oxford University, the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and Harvard University. Over and above, the Islamic University gives several scholarships for students who do not have enough money to register to study at the university. It also offers educational and mobility scholarships at international universities in different countries of Europe to help students expand their life, education and academic skills. So, I realized that choosing the Islamic University to get my bachelor’s degree in English Education has been the best choice ever; it is a decision in which I have no regrets.

My University Routine 

The days pass by quickly and the university life begins. What I am supposed to do is to create a well-organized plan for how I am going to succeed in this four-year university. Creating a plan is extremely necessary in life because it defines the main objectives that the person should achieve after doing something. Also, it gives a clear picture of what things should be done in a specific period of time. This is actually my own plan that I have created during my university life, and the main things I love to do so. At first, due to being a pure Muslim, I woke up early and prayed Down "Fajr" Salat which is the first of the five daily prayers performed every day practicing by Muslims before sunrise. For me, this salat must be followed by listening or reading some verses of the Holy Quran, which is the scripture of the Muslims. It is a must to start every day by practicing these two fundamental things because they completely empower the hearts, bodies and the souls too. Next, I have my breakfast, either at home or the university. The most important part of breakfast for me is to drink the tea with mint so that I can be ready for the variety of lectures with fresh energy. I had to have almost four different Arabic and English lectures a day, so it is hard to keep fresh without having any break in between. I used to drink a cup of coffee with a piece of chocolate during the break time, One Hour break to take a clear breath, to enjoy the fascinating sunshine with my classmates and also to be ready for the next lectures I should attend later in the day. I frequently played cards, and football or table tennis with my friends because changing the atmosphere of any process, especially the educational one, is something good to do. I sometimes go to the university gym to do some exercises for getting a healthy body. Moreover, the performance of the prayer at the university is something obligatory for someone with a faithful soul and something I love to do along with reading the Holy Quran.

 In addition, going to the sea is something I liked to do each week, looking deeply at the blue color of the sky and the movements of the waves which all give positive energy for the soul and the body. I also love to have some trips with my friends to the beautiful Gaza resorts along the sea. I should not forget to mention that I also spent time studying in the library of the university to summarize what I have learned during the lectures. I love to spend most of my time in the library, reading educational books and also revising the lectures to keep myself updated with the English language.  As long last, I go back to home and have a deep nap to start another day with another powerful energy.

Stumbling paves way for great success

People cannot deny that the life we live is full of problems and obstacles. Every single student has his/her own challenges which may affect life positively or negatively. Indeed, changing any atmosphere to something new is really hard and difficult to adapt myself to. This actually happened when I started studying at the Islamic University. I used to have a specific method of learning at school that is completely difficult from the university one; the place itself, the specific rules, the learning system, and the university life in general were totally new for me. In Gaza, people call the first-year university student "Sanfor" which is similar to being babies who are born without knowing who they are, what they should do, and why they are created. In fact, I didn't exactly know some names of the university buildings, where this place or that place is, why this place has a specific name, and also how I can get to the cafeteria where I can have my food and drinks. So, this was the first hard thing I have encountered at the beginning of the university. In addition, even though I chose the major, English Education, which I love and have a passion for, I really had problems with English at the beginning. I didn't get into any English language courses, and I was not able to write one single sentence and deliver a speech totally in English. Because of this when I attended the first lectures—which were all completely in English—I was just a listener not able to understand and participate too. It was extremely hard for me to listen carefully and understand every single word the professors said during the lectures. As a result, to be honest, I got almost 75%, a bad average, in the first semester in the English Department at the university. As a result, I thought of dropping the English major and choosing an Arabic one because it is my mother language, as I was sure I would not be facing any problems compared with the ones I had in the English major. However, I believe that every new step is hard, and with passion, determination, and perseverance, dreams come true! I created a new plan for how to succeed in learning English during the four-year study. The plan was mainly about how to improve English and to participate in any English environment. 

My Technique for learning English

At first, I used to memorize twenty new words a day and use them in sentences so they are applied in context and therefore easier to remember and understand. Also, I decided I should focus on all English Skills including Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. In addition, I should at least listen to an English video, whatever the content is, then read one page of a book or short story I love to read, then write a long or short paragraph in English, and then practice speaking with the topics I love to deliver. Delivering my first presentation in the English Department was a hard job. To choose a topic, to research information about it, to memorize the content of the presentation, and deliver it using English for the first time in front of the doctors and the students whom I don't know them well were all tough. However, I promised myself all these will absolutely be changed, and I will achieve what I am thinking of. The good student accepts any difficulty and makes them the first steps for his/her success.

Being a successful student is not really hard, what really needed is just to fight! The word "Fight" here doesn't mean to hold a weapon and to start shooting someone, but to work hard in order to make big achievements and successes. As mentioned above, I really had several difficulties during my study at the University, but I am completely proud of myself to inform you that I did a very great job after finishing the first year. First, to be a distinguished student for almost one semester in my study was a dream! I got around 89.5 in 3 different semesters, and I was extremely depressed to not get above 90%. I thought it would never happen, but it did. In the second semester of the third-year study, I got 90.7%, which meant that I was finally being called a distinguished student. It actually needed some hard effort to get it. Second, Dr. Majdi Aqal, who was at the time the manager of the Field Training in the English Education at IUG declared a competition for the one who perfectly prepares a PowerPoint presentation teaching lesson using the modern technology and techniques given in the course, called Teaching English Using Modern Technology. I promised myself to take the first place in the competition, and that happened due to my high technology skills, perseverance and the good determination I have for more success. Also, being in the last university year in the English department means that I am going to be a trainee in the either government or UNRWA schools. The manager of the Field Training declared a competition for the Best English Trainees in the schools, following specific conditions, like designing an excellent portfolio, recording at least three videos while teaching, a report from the school manager assessing how good the student is, and to deliver a well-planed English lesson note. I have implemented all these conditions, and I took the first place in the competition with my classmates. Furthermore, I have participated in an effective course at the university called English Media which really was a treasure to me. It was given by the greatest doctors of the English department in cooperation with the Media office at IUG Public Relations. I have learned how to write hard news, feature stories, and political articles. As a result of the course, I wrote various Religion and political articles that strongly support my religion, Islam, and the Palestinian issue. Also, I was extremely honored to write my first feature story which was about an IUG student, named Yousef Abo Ameera, who was sorrowfully born with no hands and legs, but he made the impossible become possible in his life. The last biggest achievement for me was changing my university average from 75% to 85.1% which was absolutely perfect.

The Pictures Taken with Great Doctors Shows My Achievements in Brief:


 In my point of view, the Islamic University of Gaza, including the English Department, was not just an educational place where I took lectures and got my English education, but it was more than a home: where I feel happiness, where I actively build my character, and where I enhance myself to be a very qualified English graduate in the future. At the beginning of my University study, I have participated in an English show, called The Annual Show of the English Language and Literature, which was prepared for the English talent students. I was a participant in the Palestinian traditional dance, called "Dahia" delivered in English with a group of my classmates and also a participant in a Tragic play. In addition, I was invited to take part in One Solution Global, which was a global project organized by an American manager, named Stephanie. The project aimed at improving the humans' minds, the thinking to be able to solve their problems intellectually, and to adapt themselves in whatever situations, good or bad, they encounter. Also, I have been selected to be a volunteer in the English Summer Camp, for the High School students, who are about to begin their University life. The camp was a treasure for the students as it was organized to improve all English Skills for the students by playing educational games, having spoken and written activities and also teaching the presentation skills. In addition, I have taken a very vital place in the Grand Poetry and Exhibition, which was organized by the English Department for showing all the Poetry Schools, especially the Palestinian Poetry School, which was a kind of resistance for the Palestinian poets. The significant result I can get during my study is to be an English teacher, who is qualified to help the students who are thirsty and hungry to learn English well and to help them be professional in their use of English. So, I have given several lectures, mainly about how to Improve English Language at different centers. I taught different English Courses, for example, Fundamental Courses, Level Course, Academic Writing Course, Conversation Course, Advanced Grammar Course, and freelancing Course. I was very happy to meet new students and be a good influencer for them. Being a University student doesn't mean to be just a learner, but also to be a worker, who has passion for getting jobs done well. I am well qualified to be a home English teacher, a translator on freelance platforms, content writer, creative English research writer, English proofreader, English and Arabic transcriber, professional presentation designer, and expert Microsoft Office user. And, I have been working in a local organization for Translation Services and Social Media Marketing for almost one year. Recently, I have been chosen to be an English language teacher at Pioneers and Leaders School. Thanks, Allah, for what you have granted me!

Wow, I have finally become a graduate after a war of 4 years! I am proud of myself for meeting all the challenges I faced to pass this stage of life and be ready for the upcoming stage. I am proud to be an English teacher who is qualified to teach English using very effective techniques and modern technology.  I am honored to teach so many students who are thirsty and hungry to learn English. Words cannot describe how happy I am to live this incredible moment! I feel like the moon, the sun, and all the stars are mine! I will always remember the rough days, nights and intense work I have done during the four years of my study, but now the triumph of their completion is a source of power to move on. I will achieve the impossible on my way to reaching all my goals and dreams--seeing them come alive with my own eyes.

The Picture Below shows my Graduation Ceremony with all Certificates I got in my life:


Finally, I thank my creator, Allah, who has helped me in my development in life, who has granted me a pure heart and good manners. l send my deep love, respect and blessings to all my doctors and professors at the Islamic University of Gaza; to my parents, who are my power and who always motivated me to keep going; and to my friends, the men and women whom I studied and worked with at the university. I am very grateful for those who taught me, those who inspired me, and those who helped me grow into the man that I am. In the end, a man can be destroyed but not defeated for nothing is impossible! Fight! Don't give up! Move! Don't quit! Trust yourself! Be patient! Learn! Make mistakes! Work hard! Help others! Be kind! Have a good heart! Last but clearly not least, share love and respect with everyone for these are the most critical keys for development and success of all.


Omer Balaawi