The writer shares her success story in the light of academic experiences taught at UMT.

As I sit in the Gold Medalist Enclosure of UMT’s 16th Convocation, I look around and see rows of brilliant students gathered to celebrate the end of their academic career and the beginning of a professional one.

Time spent at UMT went too quickly, which reminds me of moments when I applied for admission in Masters in Media and Communication at the School of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSS&H), UMT. My first glimpses of UMT were bit confusing, as the 200-kanal campus seemed overwhelming. I got lost on my way to the Office of Information and Admissions but found it after a little guidance.

I remember my first presentation; we had to select a country of our choice and prepare a detailed report on the country’s media system. To my dismay, everyone selected important countries like Canada, USA, etc., because of their strong media foundation, whereas I had to make a choice from African countries. South Africa was already taken, so I chose Kenya with heavy heart, fully knowing that information of the media system won’t be available easily, as the country was more about jungles and gorillas. The preparation duration given to us was 3 weeks. During this time, I emailed the resource person of every media channels and newspapers. I joined Kenyan public forums, read blogs, joined chat rooms to find the right person. It was a stroke of luck that through a general chat, I came across Muhammad Ali, a Kenyan Sports Photographer and columnist who provided details about Kenya’s media history and gave direct online access to Kenya National Library Service. This was my first ‘real’ contact with the media person, who later guided me on ‘how’ to write for international publications. 

At UMT, I instantly bonded with Wali Khan who had just moved to Lahore from Islamabad with his family because his father had become Resident Editor of Daily The Nation. As our friendship grew, he confided that he wanted to study and work, without letting people know who he was. This was something, which came on surface when we completed a one-month internship at the Nawa-i-Waqt Group of Publication during our final term. Together with 12 internees, we worked in various sections of newspapers which included Editorial, Magazine, News, Reporting, IT and Production. During our internship, we were taught about writing news stories, editorial styles and ways to conduct interviews with background homework in accordance with deadlines. It was one of the happiest moments of my life, when my first byline got published and I realized the power of the media.

My on-campus studies continued as we attended numerous lecturers, seminars, workshops and gatherings of renowned literary figures. UMT Adbi Baithak and Lahori Nashita held every Sunday provided us ample opportunity to meet with Amjad Islam Amjad, Yasmeen Hameed and others.

UMT TV also encouraged our freedom of expressions as we covered events on the Independence Day etc., filed press releases and posted stories on the web for UMT; OCS Career Fair, Sports Gala and conferences held at the campus. Here we understood the value of time, as we got late too.

We also took a course in visual and graphic designing which proved to be challenging one. The whole class flunked in the objective exam as questions were beyond our understanding and we were pretty proud of it.   For a subjective requirement, two people were assigned to do a project using different software of Adobe, Flash and Director. I was assigned with Sara, the so-called brilliant brain of our class. Throughout the preparation time, she wasn’t available, as her sister was getting married and I prepared the project on the Holy Quran. It was declared the best project of my class.

My friends and I used to wander around the gigantic campus during our free hours and enjoyed the greenery and fresh juices every bit, while sharing notes and held discussions. We were taught other subjects of Public Relations, Advertising, Editing, Production, International Relations and others. My group and I prepared an ad of tea for our final presentation in advertising, which we did in accordance with market trends. Then did book reviews, and made documentary projects on Walled City of Lahore. I also visited Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) Channel for the first time.

During my winter break, I did an internship with Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in Lahore and gathered data for its newsletter. We did stories to highlight the miserable plight of the needy. It was heart rendering to interview the victims and it sparked my interest in human stories and motivated the philanthropist in me.  

Today, as I look back, I have no words to express my gratitude for this University that has given me so much.