I Must Be Dreaming

Countless nights were spent looking for the perfect course in the perfect university. Because I had many friends in the UK, I thought it would be the perfect place for me since I am a people-oriented person. The mission of finding the best university wasn’t easy because of the endless available choices. Many universities were contacted regarding courses, fees and other unstated information.

The University of Westminster was the university I’ve chosen amongst over a hundred universities in the UK. Furthermore, it was very pleasing to me finding a course of my interest. A course I believed that I would do my best at. A course that will greatly improve my skills, pushing them beyond the imaginary edge I have put for. I couldn’t find a better course that from the very first moment I thought was tailored for ambitions, my needs, and me.

For over two weeks, I collected all the necessary documents for the admissions application, which I was all hope of getting. It took the university over 2 months to finally email me with an unconditional offer to pursue my MSc Business Intelligence and Analytics, which brought joy to my heart like nothing before. I would never forget how I felt that day upon reading the offer email.

Though the email came 4 days later the Palestinian European Academic Cooperation in Education (PEACE) Scholarships. But thanks to one of my closest friends, Shoruk, who had helped me so much, calling many different people in different offices around the University and Canvedish House. Without her help, applying to the scholarship with an exception to apply via email wouldn’t be possible.

I applied to the scholarship four days late because the admission came out late as I mentioned earlier and I was all hope that it works with me right for once and for all. It was the only opportunity for me to pursue my dream and get my masters degree from one of the prestigious universities in the UK, the University of Westminster, and see the world (or at least London) for the first and probably the last time in my life.

Living in Gaza is a challenge in itself. The ultimate challenge to anybody on earth would be to live in Gaza, and most importantly survive. Endure endless collective punishment reaching out to over 1.5 million citizens in the biggest-in-history open-air prison. Long-period long-term power cuts, polluted drinking water, which is not suitable for human use, severe shortage in medical supplies, and the list goes on forever.

Upon submitting the scholarship application via email, the scholarships office at the University emailed me back confirming receipt of the scholarship application and that results will come out in late July. Submitting the application in early June meant that I would have to wait for two months before I hear from them regarding the scholarship.

Two months were the longest I’ve ever lived till this moment. Two months full of mixed feelings. Anxiety, worrying, hopes, dreams, ambitions, and a major life turning point. Countless sleepless nights, and nightmares (when I could sleep for a few hours). A period of time I never wish even my enemies to live or experience.

I anticipated the unknown time at which the university will email me regarding the scholarship on which, almost everything-if not all- was dependent. Imagine the possibilities available upon being able to pursue your higher degree and all the things associated with it.

Not receiving any email from the university as the end of July approached started to feel creepy. The closer then end of the month becomes, the creepier the feeling gets. But in spite of all of that, never did I lose faith and hope in getting it.

July has ended, and we are in August already, counting days away from the period in which, the university was supposed to contact me regarding the scholarship. Things started to feel creepy and more worrying by the minute. Till a dear friend, Emma, told me that she would gladly call the university and ask them regarding my matter. Emma’s call was relieving, Alhamdulillah. They told her that they would reply today or tomorrow.

The day ended and it’s time for iftar now. Twenty minutes later, I followed my instinct and went to my computer to check my email to find that the university has finally sent me an email. I was very happy by then.

I open the email to read the most shockingly devastating email I have ever read:

Dear Nader,

I regret to inform you that the Scholarships Committee, after great deliberation, has not been able to award you a scholarship for the September 2011 intake. The committee met over a number of days and each case was carefully reviewed. We had a great many applications, over 2500, for a limited number of scholarships, so the competition was particularly intense this year.

Please be assured that every application was given due consideration. I am sorry that we have to disappoint you and wish you every success in your future.

Please note that all decisions made by the Committee are final and not open to re-consideration.

Devastated and broken is how I felt (and still do) after reading such a catastrophic email. Now that the major life turning point opportunity has gone, fundraising remains the only option for me. Without

enough funds, I would never be able to pursue my masters degree, nor achieve my dreams.

Nader K.

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About Nader Elkhuzundar

Nader Elkhuzundar is a commentator on Palestinian affairs and Co-founder of Beyond Compromise (www.beyondcompromise.com). Elkhuzundar occasionally freelances for The Guardian, International Business Times, and others. He's a social media enthusiast and tech savvy with particular interest in new technologies and analytics, and enjoys reading over Arabic coffee and dark chocolate.
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15 Responses to I Must Be Dreaming

  1. Ayşe Şahin says:

    I still believe that you will achieve it. Please Dont lose your faith. You ll find another chance to get it.I will try to find something. If ı could not , ı keep pray for you. Allah bless u brother. Dont forget “La Galibe İllallah” Allah will guide u to many success . Fi Emanillah.

    • Nader K. says:

      Thanks my friend. Inshallah khair.

      • Ayşe Şahin says:

        😉 Allah says “Allah is with those who are As- Sabirun (patient)( 8:46)”…

        He loves those who patient. I will fight for it you should the same . If necassary, I ll fight with you to be patient…! 😉 Do your best…!

  2. Jewel says:

    The glass IS half full Nader, you have to always remember that! You are too talented and have worked too hard to give up now…..besides you promised you’d cook for me so there’s no way I can allow you to get out of doing that! See you in London x Jewel x

  3. palestine says:

    never lose faith ,u deserve the best .just keep tryin 🙂

  4. 48Refugee says:

    Oh man! I know how you feel 🙁 you thought you were so close and that things would work out perfectly, but then just as quickly as it fell together, it all fell apart. Don’t worry, this is all part of God’s plan for you and he has something better in store. I wish I could help you by donating, but I’m an unemployed graduate student too so there’s not much I can offer.
    iA you can gather the funds you need and this ends up being a growing experience for you. Make du3a2 and plenty of it! Especially during the last third of the night (you’ll be awake anyway lol) and right before iftar. I’ll keep you in my prayers as well! If this is meant to be, then it will happen. May God bring what is best. Ramadan Kareem

  5. Vicky says:

    Do your friends live in London, and do they have a spare room in their houses/apartments? If so, would any of them be willing to let you live with them rent-free? It would be a big help not to have to pay any accommodation costs. If your friends haven’t got the space or their tenancy agreements prohibit long-term guests, contact the London branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. I am sure they will be able to find you a host family.

    Prayers for you, Nader. I hope you get this.

    • Nader K. says:

      The award committee isn’t going to grant me the scholarship. so finding a place to live at is pointless.

      • Vicky says:

        I know that tuition is the priority. I was just looking at the costs breakdown on the grid. It says £650 per month for rent. If you have a place you know you can go to, that’s almost £8,000 that you don’t have to raise, and you can put all your donations towards tuition and other study-related costs instead.

        Do you know Selin through Twitter? @Selintellect. I believe she is heavily involved with the University of Westminster’s student Palestine solidarity group. Perhaps they would fundraise for you too, especially as it’s their university you want to attend.

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  7. Jackson Carter says:

    The Planetary Patriot and the Day he Went to Palestine

    free ebook free download 😀

    The only peace that Israel wants is the last piece of Palestine

  8. Pingback: He just wants to achieve his dreams… « Arabiya Muslimah

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