Good Afternoon to all! At the outset, I would like to join former speakers in welcoming you to ANU and congratulate all of you for making to this premier institution, premier not only in Australia but also has a prominent place in the list of top universities in the world. I also would like to thank Global Programme office for all the assistance and support that we have enjoyed so far and also for giving me the opportunity to speak in today’s function.
Well, to introduce myself, my name is Phurba and I am from Bhutan. In my brief interaction with some of you I came to know that many of you are not aware where Bhutan is. It’s a small Himalayan country sandwiched between two Asian giant, China in the north and India to the South. Before getting this opportunity to study in ANU, I was working with the Bhutan government for the last five years the field of planning and policy formulation. Currently I am pursuing Masters in International and Development Economics at Crawford.
At this moment, many of you must be thinking what I have undergone last year at this time of the year. At this time last year, I was excited and at the same time worried. Excited because I am getting chance to study in such a renounced university in the developed country with the support of prestigious scholarship. This was a huge achievement for me especially considering my humble background where both my dad and mom has never been to school and they remained illiterate today. Worried because I was to study in an entirely different system along with other international students. Worried because I just arrived here and have to attend class from the very next day, before I even know how to navigate around.
I would now share a few difficulties that I have faced during my initial phase of life here in ANU with the intention to make you aware of the situation.
I was educated in a system where teachers almost spoon fed us. But here if we want to excel, we have to really double our effort to deep drive into the topics which lecturers will only sort of introduce in the class. I was used to in a system where the first session is spent on introduction and interaction to know each other. However, here the lesson starts from the very beginning. I wasn’t aware of that and I was not prepared mentally. I went to the first lecture with a diary book like I was going for meetings back in the office. And in the class I thought the lecturer was just introducing the topic and he would repeat in the next class with a greater detail. But I was wrong, terribly wrong. It was indeed a real marathon. By the time I buy proper note books and settle for studies, a few weeks has already gone. By then I realized that I was trailing. My suggestion for all of you is to take seriously from the first week itself so that you don’t fall behind.
In my previous college, we had main exam only towards the end of year that is in December. At that point in time, my college doesn’t have semester system. We can afford to relax first few months and and work hard a few months before exams and get through. However, here we have to do mid-term exam in merely 7 weeks. I was not aware of the need of double our effort in such system. Time flies once you are into academic session and you really don’t know how the time passes.
ANU has a good set of teaching team and rich teaching-learning materials. Lecturers and tutors are accessible upon prior appointment or during their consultation hours. Beyond that unlike in my previous college, we cannot meet them as and when we like. Special tutorials are available but only upon payment. So I urge you all to meet your professors during the consultation hours and gain maximum out of it.
Another point that I felt important is knowing one’s strength and interest. What we thought when we were planning to go for further studies is one thing and the reality is quite another. Try to assess the course that you have enrolled properly and see how you can cope up and also how interesting is the course. Your brain and heart has to match. If they don’t match, explore other options before it is too late.
Today when I enter into my second year and look back at those difficulties that I have undergone in my first year I can safely say that it is possible to beat the odds if you are willing to. And I am still trying hard to keep up the pace and I believe that it should be continuous process.
Lastly I would like to take leave of my colleagues with the message, don’t loose your focus. Take learning as a moral responsibility. It is only through continuous learning and life long learning that can add to the vast knowledge of mankind. ANU has one of the rich libraries and fabulous facilities, use them. Open your mind and enjoy the scenic beauty of vast campus. Wish you all the best in your endeavour and enjoy your stay here.