I received my Golden Key certificate through the mail while completing my degree at the University of Waikato. The very moment I realised what this meant, I instantly attributed it to my academic performance the previous year (2006). Little did I know that the certificate would represent the many landmarks of greatness in my life – achieved through perseverance, sacrifice, and discipline. The certificate was followed by a few more achievements in the years to come, which I will not delve into, culminating in the final course that I needed to complete to graduate with honors. However, I created the dilemma in trying to complete this course that became for me, as the nursery rhyme of ‘Humpty Dumpty’ described, a “great fall!”
Not only had I accumulated difficulties in my final year of studies, but I had succumbed to peer pressure, procrastination and unnecessary stress due to my changing values and attitude towards university life. I underwent such an experience because I had left the security and reassurance of living in a structured and organised environment (the halls of residence on campus) and, instead, confined myself, along with my friends from our home country. They brought with them (as did I) the attitude of taking things for granted and abusing whatever money we were receiving from our sponsors back at home. This was my “great fall” as my final course, a 15,000-word research dissertation paper, was drastically affected.
In doing so, I had arranged with my research supervisor to complete and send her the final draft from my home country since my visa was soon expiring and I had paid for an extension of the research timeframe for a few more months. As the fable (‘Humpty Dumpty’) implied, everyone around me, particularly my family, pitched in with words of encouragement, motivation, forgiveness, and above all – prayers – to lift my spirit and gather my confidence, which was the main thing I had lost from my journey in the ‘Land of the White Clouds.’
One defining day, I arose with zeal and a renewed spirit to piece together my research paper, submit it for review and pass the course with a satisfactory grade, thereby – graduating with Honors on 18th August 2010. In my story, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men were able to put Humpty together again!