July 28, 2020, by Lee Mei Kee

Valedictorian Speech: School of Pharmacy Class of 2020


Good morning Everyone!

This year’s virtual graduation ceremony is unusual, credits to Coronavirus, as you are not seeing a valedictorian standing physically in front of you wearing an academic square hat and the black graduation gown instead you are witnessing me carrying the love of my parents and the pride of my lecturers. My name is Amna Shah and I am extremely honoured, humbled and beyond grateful to represent the class of 2020 of the School of Pharmacy at University of Nottingham Malaysia.

Undoubtedly, our pleasure is endless, and our happiness is unmatchable today. Congratulations! to all the fellow graduates on your hard work and success. However, let’s not forget that this success doesn’t solely belongs to us but to each and everyone who has been a part of our three to four years of tremendous journey at UNM.

We thank our parents for fulfilling our needs and desires, indeed, we can never pay back for your love and sacrifice. Thank you to all our beloved lecturers for not only imparting the best of their knowledge through various fascinating methods but also for ensuring our well-being beyond the classrooms. You are our heroes and the impact which you have made on us can never be erased.  Thank you to the lab assistants for hearing our cries when we do not get the desired results on our agar plate or gel. We thank  everyone who played a role in making our learning experience conducive yet worthwhile and breath-taking.

Looking back at my life, I could never imagine that I will end up in this prestigious University. Leaving my homeland was one of my biggest losses. The initial days were uncertain and fearsome. I have experienced the harsh realities of the life very closely where we struggled to fulfil the basic needs of life. We pulled through as a family, however, deep down I always pray for the ‘silver lining’.

‘After midnight there is dawn’ and this dawn came into my life as an opportunity to apply in UNM. The fear of rejection made me hesitant to apply at UNM even though I was aware that I would regret not taking this chance. I remember the day when I was interviewed for the very first time. My heart beat as strong as never before, I was anxious inside but confident outside. The interview went well, and I was told that the result of my application will be informed later via email. Surprisingly, I received the acceptance email few minutes after I left the interview room, but I didn’t check my email account thinking that if I were to be selected then it won’t be so fast. I reached home late at night and faced my family. Hope and joy were sparkling in their eyes and they compelled me to check if I got any email. I mustered up the courage and sign into my Gmail account, an email popped up and even before opening it I read the word “Congratulations!”. That was the life-changing moment filled with laughter and joy. Recalling that day still bring tears to my eyes. Being enrolled into Nottingham, after a gap in education was extremely challenging and certainly a new learning curve which was achieved because of my parents, siblings, community and some special people in my life who believed in me.

Dear Fellow graduates,

Recall the first day at UNM, our excitement was at a whole new level however, with each passing day, many times we felt exhausted and had thoughts of giving up. Yes, I have also gone through those rough days and sleepless nights. I often used to visit the top most floor of C-block at night on the days I felt low, viewing the Nottingham logo from there reminded me always that why I started this journey.

For me, achievement was not just getting the desired marks in each assessment, but it was everything which made me a better person. It was receiving encouraging gestures from my lectures, smiling with my classmates and learning something which I haven’t known before. For each assessment, I worked hard without worrying for the outcome. Most importantly, I did not compare myself with anyone but to my own self which gradually helped me to hike the mountain of life one step further.

It is hard for me to leave a place which changed my life and blessed me with the most precious moments such as rushing for 9:00 am classes and waiting for PCR results however, the connections which I have made and the relationships I have built here will last forever. I met the most amazing people of my life at this place whose attention and affection served as a secret ingredient to help me grow into a plant from a seedling.

Dear Friends, we all come from different backgrounds and endure different journeys, but our unique stories set us apart and make us who we are.  So, embrace the rainy days of your life to witness the rainbow. Remember, what Dory said to Nemo: “When life gets you down, do you wanna know what you got to do? “Just keep swimming”. This day marks as the end of our magnificent bachelors’ journey but undeniably, every ending is accompanied by a new beginning. I am unstoppable and so are you so let’s live and work for the life we always imagined. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours – “the good is yet to come”.

Thank You

Amna Shah


Article by: Amna Shah (BMS graduate of 2020)

Posted in BMSHappenings