Ms. Nur Zita Binte Mahat

Valedictory Speech given during 2015 Graduation Ceremony

Good afternoon….

I promised myself I should not cry as I do not want to ruin my make-up. So I hope that I can deliver this steadily. When I first received news that I was the top student and I needed to deliver a speech, I thought to myself…ok, let’s just google this. But then I was like, hey, that wouldn’t be right because it wasn’t me and it doesn’t show my personality. And google couldn’t describe my feelings.

As much as I am happy to be standing here and given this 5 minutes of fame, I wish in my heart that this time had come sooner and my late father would have been here with me. But sadly, that is not to be. I do have a mother though, who is still quite a dreamer at her youthful age. Before school even ended, she already somehow knew that one day I will be standing on a stage like this and delivering a speech. So in a way, this is a little like deja vu for me, because I have somehow imagined this day. I guess dreams from the people who really care for you do somehow turn into reality. And I have learnt the power of belief from this.

One and a half years ago I walked into class looking like a shabby over-aged teenager, when in actual fact I was an unemployed housewife with too much time and ZERO knowledge of the industry. I have repeated this like a broken record (and I can feel my classmates rolling their eyes at my proclaims once again). The keen interest I have in the industry made me step into the world of the unknown, pushing myself to new challenges.

16th June 2014, my first day in school… after a long, long time of more than a decade. My first lesson was MMS, taught by Prof Lau Geok Theng. Internally, I had a really hard time coping and adapting, but I was too proud and fearful to admit it. I was experiencing major culture shock. I was nervous, scared, trembling, with tummy pains from all the tension… Still, I decided to press on. After all it was only Day One and I have already started and since I am not known to be a quitter, I had to stay on. Moreover, my ego is far too large for quitting.

Fast forward 8 months later, and after completing 4 modules, taught by 4 other lecturers : Dr Siew Ngung Chia, Mr Koh How Eng, Jane and Sophia…. low and behold, I am in my final term, on my last 2 modules.

I was secretly petrified about Professor Poh who was going to lead the module. I have heard “stories” about him, even though we have not met. Not helping my apprehension, I of course HAD to be late, the one and only time I was ever late for class was on my very first lesson with Prof. Poh [GASP]. I was rushing to class straight from the airport and thanks {or no thanks} to an accident on the ECP that day, I was 1 hour and 15 minutes late. I was panicking throughout the journey!

I made a bold entrance (although I was chicken inside). I thought I would have been devoured there and then, but Prof Poh turned out to be this warm, kind, endearing fatherly figure.and not some scary being who looked as threatening as he had been made to sound and have no qualms to tell you that you did wrong and it’s time to pull up your socks, as I learnt much later.

Over the course of the next 12 weeks, we as a class, had a ball of a time. One of the lessons that hit me the most was when I submitted to Prof Poh the final draft of my disseration. It was less than dismal and in his words he said I could do much better than that.. and I was off track. I was crushed and totally disappointed with myself. I was even angry that I didn’t get it right. But…. I told myself I cannot and will not concede defeat. So the following week when it was time for our individual power point presentation, I totally aced it and I got back the points that I have lost. And that was the first achievement of my 2 milestones. And today, I can proudly say that I am one of his 2 A* students. But it definitely didn’t come easy. All of these happened because of his guidance, mentoring, advice and what I think is most important was his constructive criticism. Another person whom I’d like to give a special tribute to but is unable to be here today, is Mr David Tan. I sincerely thank him for his massive patience with me and for entertaining my constant questions. Had my lecturers not given me the lifeline to connect with them directly, I may not have produced the results I did, and thereby stand before you today. In this growing and learning journey, one other valuable lesson that I drew in this was support from my fellow classmates. Despite the competition, I trust that we genuinely wanted each other to perform well and succeed. To me, that is a true reflection of comradeship.

My classmates in my final term were nothing short of amazing. What really impressed me was their drive, commitment and discipline on top of their support, encouragement, advice and assistance to me. Aisha, Ken Soh and Jenny, I can never thank you enough for all your advice and assistance. William, Pui Key, Wan Ying, Evien, Louis, Sonia, Lisa, thank you for believing in me and for giving me your support in one way or another.

Above all these, my most special tribute is reserved for my sister. If you may know, she was a nurse by profession. But from my very first assignment down to the last assignment and project submission, my sister was there for me all the way. She had helped me so much with her valuable advice and by commenting and dissecting my assignments. Also absolutely clueless to this industry, she represented the perspective of an unknown third party, and injected [pun on the word, cos she’s a nurse] her point of view as an imaginary consumer. It was from there I knew my work was understood and that I got my message across. Thank you sister for all that you have supported me in. I want to thank my husband and both my brothers for spoiling me and letting me enjoy the pampering. I never missed a day of school because I was also promised to be fetched after class by anyone of them. It pays to be the youngest at time….

All in all, my journey with SIPMM has been nothing short of memorable and fun. I enjoyed my time in class, as a learner and a classmate and had some really good laughs together. I cherish this memory and moments we have shared and I wish we could have had more time with one another. As crazy as this sound, I still miss school and hope we will cross paths with one another again in future. From someone who knew absolutely nothing, I have now become quite knowledgeable. If I hadn’t come to SIPMM, I might not have done this well. That’s a hypothetical assumption. But I thank my lucky stars for the choice I made and I was therefore given a chance to work with a dedicated and selfless group of lecturers.

So thank you everyone of you who have supported me and who trusted me enough to rely on my advice and valued my contributions. I will end by saying, “We all need a little challenge in our lives. So be brave and push yourself. Take that leap of faith because you never know if what lies ahead could turn out to be amazing for you. And last but not least, always be kind to one another.” Thank you.

Valedictory Speech 2015 Graduation Ceremony by Ms Nur Zita Binte Mahat