Life as a Student, Husband and Research Assistant at Eastern Mediterranean University

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Arifur Rahaman is a Ph.D. student in Communication and Media Studies Faculty; he doubles as a research assistant at the registrar’s office and he is happily married. Arifur is from Dhaka city in Bangladesh and he speaks four international languages (English, Turkish, Bangla and Indi). He came to North Cyprus in 2004 and he obtained his first degree in Public Relations & Advertising. Arifur also obtained a Master’s degree in International Relations. In this interview, he shares what it’s like to give his best to the demands of all these responsibilities.

How is life as a student, husband and research assistant at Eastern Mediterranean University?

Life as a student is interesting especially when I was an undergraduate but now as a graduate student, it is interesting too but more tasking I must say. My wife joined me here two and half years ago and everything has been merry since then but we all know that it is also not easy to run a family as a student. Also, about one half years ago, I started work as a research assistant and I must say it has been a blessing overall. Life generally at EMU is demanding and tough and I am talking from my 11 years’ experience in North Cyprus. I wasn’t here all 11 years though because I was in the UK for a short while and I came back but I must say I have a handful of knowledge about work/student life in North Cyprus. Prior to my latest appointment, I have worked with the Library and dormitories and so it’s been a long learning process. I want to state clearly that it is a privilege that I am working with the school; something they say is better than nothing. I am making this assertion because some excellent students crave for school jobs but they don’t get it. I think for the most times, getting a school job goes beyond being good academically. Like in my case, I understand four international languages. So, it’s about what you can give.

With so much knowledge about student/work life at EMU, do your responsibilities clash? And if they do, how do you manage the responsibilities of these three demanding positions?

No, they don’t clash; it’s basically about planning, if you are well planned, you will hardly face any problem. At least for the past three years, I have not encountered any major problem. My wife is also a Ph.D. in Communication and Media Studies Faculty and I am so happy that she understands and she knows how to manage. In addition, if you have a wife that manages with you and understands the situation, every other problem will be solved naturally.

What has been the recurring challenge in carrying out your responsibilities?

No major challenge in the work place for instance because I try to give my best. The rule of the university is that you should give as much information as you have and know. When students ask you questions on something tell them what you know and don’t assume or lie. I have been following that principle diligently; so far so good I must say. For student and family management, there is also no challenge. Meanwhile, at the overall level, the only challenge is the standard of living and the salary. The salary cannot really take very good care but like I said, we share and manage and we thank the school authority for the opportunity

What motivates you to keep on keeping on?

In as much as it might not be too sufficient, I must honestly say that the salary keeps me going most definitely. It is a major motivation

If you have the opportunity to do things differently with your present state, what would you do differently?

What I will like to do differently is to have the opportunity to impart knowledge into the younger generations. It mustn’t necessarily be in North Cyprus, probably in Bangladesh or anywhere else.

Do you think you are doing very well managing the aforesaid responsibilities?

Absolutely, but first of all, I want to say that it is hard for anyone to say posit that they are doing very well when it comes to managing highly demanding responsibilities like my own with the conditions surrounding it. So for me, I obviously wouldn’t say am doing very well because there are some lapses at times. To say am doing well, I think yes but very well, no. If grading system will best explain what I mean then if I am to grade myself from 1 to 10, I can say 7

7 is definitely a pass mark if you ask me. Hence, it shows you are doing well. What would be your advice to students in the same situation who have difficulty in managing their responsibilities or students who will be in the future?

My candid advice to them is that they shouldn’t expect too much; in other words, they should expect the worst from any situation so that they don’t get disappointed. In addition, they should be ready to make sacrifices especially when it comes to the marriage aspect. Marriage is all about toleration and endurance. For the research assistant aspect, just do your best and always be ready to help students. On a final note, keep hoping and dreaming for a better tomorrow.