Happy Birthday My Dear Best Friend

mYou felt very hurt when I told you that our friendship won’t last, that we will forget each other after college. Well, here I am two years after leaving college, calling you my best friend and wishing you happy birthday. This is me remembering you. Due to the distances between us I was not able to give you any gift, so this is my gift for you…

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This post is dedicated to my best friend, Yumna. She is one of the best things that happened to me. She is one of those people, whom I admire and take inspiration from.

I met Yumna when I took admission in college. I remember how different we were initially from each other. She was a geek and had the highest marks in matric in our class. I was good at studies, but I was not a geek. I mean I had 82% marks in matric, and she had  90% marks. She was very intelligent.

When we had our first papers, Yumna, Nida, and I got the first three positions. That was when we started talking to each other. That was the time from where our beautiful friendship began. In the final exams of 11th and 12th grade we were the top three position holders.

With the help of God, she taught me many things. She made me into a geek like her. She made me realize how much hard work I needed to do. I remember how we all had fun. We used to study in our free periods :-D. But that was far more fun than you can imagine. We all wanted to take medical as our career (we all didn’t achieve that goal though).

I was usually the second position holder, and she was usually the third position holder. But she never envied me. She never hated me. She never got angry with me. She used to be happy for me and always cheered me on.

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We prepared for our practical exam on mobile phone, literally!!!!

I remember the worried look on her face when I entered ,while crying, into the examination hall for biology’s paper. I remember how she left her seat, came to me and tried to sooth me.

One thing I love about our friendship was that I could discuss the whole paper with Yumna after it was over. Others used to be very unhappy and angry about discussing the paper. But she used to be eager to do that.

Above all, she was a very good person. She was honest, loyal, and intelligent. She was far more a good friend to me than I was to her. She was the person who understood me. She was the one who used to listen to all my stupid talks. I used to tease her that she was a leo. That she had long hands that were designed to slap hard :-D.

But Yumna. I really love you. And I really miss you. I won’t forget you ever. And if you are reading this (I’ll make that happen for sure :-D), know that you are a source of admiration for me. I will always love you. May that long and beautiful smile always stay on your face! May you be successful in your life and chemical career! With all the best wishes. Happy Birthday Yumna.

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Goodbye My Fear of Presentations

I nearly never had problem in delivering a presentation, making eye contact, etc. My problem was that as soon as I would reach the rostrum, my heart beat would start pounding my ear, and then my voice would start to quiver. This shivering voice was my biggest problem. Once a friend of mine commented my presentation as a “Musical Presentation” 😀. The highest marks were 9 out of ten and mine were 8. So, you can imagine that where my presentation stood.

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I never had problems, such as looking at the audience, the teacher, reading from slides, etc. I usually don’t memorize presentations. I just understand them and then make bullet point on a small paper that fits the size of my palm (this was taught to me by my first semester’s English teacher. So, thanks ma’am).

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I’d like to add that I don’t feel shy, unconfident, or nervous, when I am speaking from my own seat, but  if someone asks me repeat the same by standing in front of the class, I start trembling. I sometimes think that I don’t like to be the center of attention.
Someone once told me that I will stop getting nervous during my presentations when I’ll reach fourth semester. I was like, “Yeah, it may be so for girls who do not take much stress. But in my case I can’t be sure this will happen.” Now, when I have reached fourth semester, I find her being 100% correct.

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But, I don’t give all the credit to the passage of time, and my continuous exposure to these situations. This was done, above all, with the help of God, and a little due to my own effort. I searched for exercise that can instantly reduce stress. I have learned from experience that there is no easier way to calm yourself and slow down your heart beat than this:

Deep breathing is the quickest and the easiest way to lower down your heart beat. It does so in only a few seconds.

I also found a book on how to improve my presentation skills. I found many things.

  1. The first was that you should first look at your audience and smile, so that they know you are confident. I didn’t exactly do this, but, as I am usually the one who changes the slides when my group members are presenting, I keep smiling to the audience and I look at them over and over again so that I can stop being nervous.
  2. I also found out that while one you are being questioned do not draw your head back because this will give an impression that you do not want to answer or do not know the answers. So, keep your head bet towards your audience.
  3. This one was learned from my own experience. If you have full grasp on your topic, then you won’t get confused or nervous.giphy (5)

In a nut shell, this semester nearly all my presentations went well. Although I was surprised when a friend of mine told me that she liked my Geology’s presentation (which was to the worst presentation in that semester). So, may be its all in your head, but trying to improve is not wrong. So, keep on trying….

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‘In my time’ (میرے زمانے میں)

It has been only two decades since I was born and I already refer to my childhood as  ‘In my time’ (میرے زمانے میں). When I try to explain my seven year younger sister something, I often use this term.  My mother then laughs at me and tells me that I speak as if I am so very old. To me, though, this seems a very correct notion. The time that I am in now is completely different from that of my childhood. I will elaborate these feeling with certain experiences of my own:

1. When I was a child, mobile phones were not so common. I remember that we used to go to a PCO (telephone booth) and call our relatives. There used to be a card, which ,when used, allowed us to talk for few minutes. Some time after this my father bought a mobile phone. This phone had a blue screen with black font. This screen was no bigger then a scientific calculator’s screen. We also had a telephone installed later on. Then we bought a computer. We used a card (more specifically called Rabta Online) to connect to the internet. A relative of mine had a phone with camera and colors, and it was like a wonder for me. Now you see smart phones have so many functions and are so commonly used. Has not the technology improved in these two decades??

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2. The entertainment industry has changed a great deal. Hollywood and English music has suffered a less sudden change then bollywood. When I was a kid there would be a brave and good hero and a nice and beautiful heroine in most of the movies. The music used to be soft and the voices for heroine’s singing used to be shrill. Now-a-days women with heavy and less shrill voices are preferred. Heroes are mostly thieves, etc. The idea of beauty has changed a great deal.

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A heroine of that time

A heroine of this time

A heroine of this time

Above all, I have changed. Not because I have grown up, but because I am not the same person, in nature, anymore. I, in my own account, have improved a lot. My interests changed. I developed new hobbies, such as reading novels (I love to read novels). I have observed my errors and weaknesses, and  I have tried and am trying to improve. I have changed from over confident to less confident (this is wrong but also good at times). My tastes have changed, my choices are now more well thought of. Nevertheless, change is still required and change is inevitable.

Be informed about your country’s governance!

Let me share something really exciting that I learned this semester in my optional subject, “Governance and Public trust”. Some of you, like me, won’t know what governance is. Governance is the process of decision making and the process by which these decisions are implemented or not implemented.

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Unlike government, governance includes all the stakeholders. Three main stakeholders of governance  are civil society, government, and market. These three make governance at national. Good governance is a normative (opinion based) concept. Good  governance includes parameter, such as it is  participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. For further information on this topic, click here.

Different agencies calculate governance standards. These include World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNESCAP, etc. Here I will tell you a website where you can find governance percentile rank ( more rank near 100 more high is the governance level) of your country through parameters such as government effectiveness and efficiency, rule of law, voice and accountability, etc. You can compare the rank of your country  with other countries and the rank of these indicator under different political regimes.

Step 1

Go to this website  http://databank.worldbank.org/data/views/variableselection/selectvariables.aspx?source=Worldwide-Governance-Indicators

Step 2

You will see Country, Timeline, and Series. Select the wanted series (parameter), timeline, and country. If you will select two countries then you can compare the selected indicator over the selected timeline. then

Step 3

After you have selected your required information look at the information given in the top right corner. You would see table, map, graph, etc. Click on the type in which you want to use this data. You can also download graphs in excel sheets and the click line graph icon to form a line graph.

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I enjoyed this practical, I hope you will. Even if you are not interested just try this activity once. With these indicators you can have informed opinions. You can argue on the basis of facts.