Dr. Nida Shabbar is a graduate of Fatima Jinnah Dental College, and went on to do her M.Sc in Oral Biology from the Barts and London School of Medicine. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Baharia Dental College, Karachi.
Q1 What made you do your masters from the UK?
As an individual I have always been a firm believer in progress, willing to go the extra mile for better opportunities. Acquiring a postgraduate qualification in oral biology from Barts and The London school of medicine and dentistry was one such opportunity. Ranked first for the quality of its research and and second for dentistry in the UK, the opportunity it gives medical, natural and social scientists to work together whilst leveraging unparalleled access to a broad and diversified population in a post genomic era is flabbergasting. For me living in the UK meant adapting to an unfamiliar environment and gaining insight to a way of life which was radically different from my own which I feel comes in handy later on in ones professional life.
Q2 what difference did you see in the teaching system in Pakistan and the UK?
Pakistan is home to a set of very distinguished and skilful educators and professors along with some renowned institutions being ranked in the top Asian universities in the world. However, the lack of resources and research facilities has greatly affected our teaching system. In a country such as Britain critical thinking is considered important and new ideas are appreciated. They believe in practical application of knowledge which allows academically strong students to apply themselves in the real world. Pakistan’s teaching system has yet to be developed at par with other developing countries in the region.
Q3 what were your inherent fears when applying for the program?
My biggest fear of all was failure. Failure can be a lot of things, from finding yourself helpless to hitting rock-bottom. For me it was fear of being unable to deliver and not reaching the goals I had set for myself. Maintaining a balance between my school life and my marriage was another one.
Q4 Why do you think its important for professionals from Pakistan to get foreign education?
There is no doubt that one of the reasons why it is important for professionals from Pakistan to get foreign education is the quality of education and the broad spectrum of opportunities they get to benefit from. Education is supposed to make you grow academically, physically, mentally and spiritually and that is where Pakistan’s educational system fails and foreign education delivers.
However, if we look on the bright side, the same professionals can make use of that expertise and help bring the teaching system to compete internationally for the youth of tomorrow.
Q5 What would be the best time for a student to plan a masters program and how should they plan the finances?
The best time for a student to plan for such a program will vary from one person to another as it can be very gruelling. For me, it was right after I finished my undergraduate studies that I felt was the best time to do my masters.
With foreign educational expenses sky rocketing, Tuition fees and cost of living is one of the two major expenses which a student faces when applying for post graduate studies. Dental school is the best time to plan a masters program and discover the specialty of interest to plan the finances accordingly. They can take loans or apply for bursaries which help thousands of students get to universities each year.
Q6 what would be your advice to the youngsters?
If you want success, step out of your comfort zones and open yourself to challenges. I strongly believe that opportunities are made; like Jimmy Dean said you can’t change the direction of the wind but you can always adjust your sails to reach your destination. If you want success you can’t falter, you need strength, determination and planning.
“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning” – Robert Kiyosaki
Completing my masters was just the commencement of a long journey, I have a long way to go too!