KARACHI: Attired in green and white gowns, 412 students of Aga Khan University’s (AKU) medical college and Institute of Educational Development received their diplomas on Saturday morning.
The fresh graduates had gathered at AKU’s cricket ground, which was transformed into a convocation hall, to receive their entry pass into the real world at the varsity’s 28th convocation. The ceremony began with the academic procession led by the chief guest, social worker Dr Ruth Pfau, the deans and faculty members of various schools, followed by the graduates.
A total of 95 doctors graduated from the medical college with degrees in Bachelor’s of Medicine, Bachelor’s of Surgery (MBBS). They stood in front of the deans as they took the oath promising to serve people to the best of their abilities.
The School of Nursing and Midwifery bid farewell to 119 graduates while 94 students received their degrees in Post-RN Bachelor’s of Science in nursing.
During the welcome speech, AKU president Firoz Rasul congratulated the graduating students and told them to feel happy as today marked the culmination of their struggle over the past few years. “You make the world change for the better,” he said. He also thanked AKU’s donors and funders for their support.
Dr Pfau smiled as she looked at the graduating class. “Closing my eyes and imagining, I only see them [graduates] spreading out in the country and helping people,” she said, adding that she was sure they knew what they are doing and what they should do.
Appreciating the teaching methods offered at AKU, Dr Pfau said these students were lucky to receive education by a group of people who are actually thinking and working for good education.
The valedictorian for AKU class of 2015, Ambreen Aziz Sonawala from the MBBS programme, shared some lighter moments that she and her classmates had gone through over the last five years that they spent at AKU. “Today, the celebration and victory is not just ours but of all those who have suffered and given up their comfort to make us stand here,” she said. She mentioned how her parents gave up on their sleep to make sure she reached the hospital for surgery rounds at six in the morning.
Sonawala also made it a point to appreciate the library, laboratory and canteen staff who have helped them throughout the years, especially during night duties. Everyone in the hall firmly believes that they have achieved what they came for, she said. “If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it then I can achieve it,” she said, quoting the boxer, Muhammad Ali.
Afsheen Amir Ali, who received the award for the best graduate in the nursing and midwifery school, said that she was inspired by her elder cousin. Ali wants to teach nursing students in the future after completing her Master’s and PhD in the field. “The concept of nursing as a profession has changed a lot,” she said. “And it is us who will change it further as the final image of nursing.”
Amna Qasim received the best graduate award in the medical college for obtaining the highest grades in all five years of MBBS. Amna, the youngest of four siblings, is also the first doctor in her family. Talking toThe Express Tribune, she mentioned how she wants to become an academic clinician as she always had interest in research.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2015.