GEORGE TOWN, Deeply touched by the hardships of both parents to ensure that she can pursue her higher education, made Andi Arnaisah Andi Arnis, 24, determined to change the fate of her family.

Her efforts were not in vain after she successfully obtained the Vice Chancellor's Gold Medal Award for outstanding student leaders at the 61st Convocation of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

The Bachelor of Education graduate who hails from Kampung Kunak, Sabah, said remembering an incident four years ago often brought her to tears. She was about to enrol at USM when the car she was travelling in suddenly broke down on the way to Tawau Airport.

"The car was the only car we had and my father Arnis Ariffin, 56, ran to get help because he was afraid I would miss my flight. We couldn't afford a new ticket because of financial constraints, fortunately, there was a good samaritan who helped send me to the airport.

"The hardships of my parents pushed me to study hard. My mother Fatimah Hussin, 56, really wanted to see me get an award and cried when she found out that I realised that dream," said Andi Arnaisah when met at a special press conference at the USM Chancellery Building, here, today.

Andi Arnaisah, the sixth of seven siblings said when she entered her second year, she ventured into business by becoming a health product agent to earn pocket money to cover expenses, including tuition fees and helping her family back home.

She said she was proud when she could finally afford a new car for her parents. Thanks to the hard work in business, she can now afford things she had been dreaming of.

Asked about her future plans, Andi Arnaisah said she currently works under the Student Welfare and Persons with Disabilities Unit (BHEPA) and aspires to become a special education teacher.

"I won sponsorship from the Malaysian Ministry of Education (MoE) and hope to become a special education teacher because I want to help PwDs because my principle in life is that the best of people are those who benefit others," she said.

Meanwhile, the recipient of the Gold Medal Award for USM Students with Disabilities (PKU), Noor Hafiz Abd Jalil is grateful to complete his studies despite facing various challenges and obstacles until he had to postpone his studies for two years.

The Bachelor of Applied Science graduate also proved that being less fortunate is not an obstacle for him to earn a degree.

"In 2017 I was diagnosed with SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) causing my right leg to be so weak that I was bedridden. I couldn't finish my first semester.

"After gradually recovering, I continued studying and thanks to my mother's prayers, I finally managed to graduate with excellent results," said Noor Hafiz who intends to continue his studies to the Master's level.

Besides the two graduates, the Chancellor's Gold Medal Award went to Bachelor of Arts with Education graduates, Muhamad Hafizi Mohd Hanafi. Soleha Jasni who also graduated from the same course, received the Royal Education Award for the Bumiputera category while the non-Bumiputera category went to Bachelor of Science graduate ( Mathematics) Jason Kng Wei Liang.

Meanwhile, USM Vice-Chancellor Datuk Seri Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed said 8,166 graduates will receive their respective degrees at the ceremony which starts from tomorrow until Nov 27.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency