In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
On Tuesday, I had the honour of receiving an MA in Broadcast Journalism from the University of the West of Scotland. This represented my second graduation ever following on from achieving a Masters in Pharmacy from the Robert Gordon University in the early half of this decade. My graduation in Troon earlier this week was one of the most enjoyable moments of my entire life and will be a time I never forget.
The achievement at UWS came around 18 months after I decided to take an essential change in direction in my career and life. I always wanted to complete a journalism qualification for many years and last summer saw me reach a major crossroad in my life journey. In my late 20’s and having built up some life experience and learning how to become a resilient individual in an ever dynamic and volatile world, it was a ‘now or never’ moment.
I didn’t give up being a pharmacist and still work within community pharmacy, but it was time to finally make a start on fulfilling my ambitions as a broadcaster by ensuring I received professional training to become a competent broadcast journalist. I have past experience of hospital radio and doing various work experience at places such as STV and felt it was time for me to build upon that.
The main attraction to the MA Broadcast Journalism course at UWS was the fact it wasn’t like a traditional degree. It is designed to help aspiring broadcast journalists gain all the essential skills required to excel in the real world. Broadcast journalists have to be well equipped to do the job of reporting and informing the public about what’s going on all around us.
And doing what you really love is very important. By not pursuing your genuine passions, you waste your time, you lose your self-respect, you don’t gain respect from others, your life becomes mundane and you can never be truly successful. This life is too short to render it pointless.
The reaction to the news of my graduation earlier this week on social media was wonderful. I thank every person who has congratulated me on my achievement. I want to thank every single person for their encouragement, love and support. And I especially want to say special thanks to all of my family who have been very tolerant and understanding of me, always. I couldn’t be more grateful for their love. And thank you to my brother for the photograph he took of me on Tuesday as featured on here.
I want to especially thank the University for welcoming me. Gaining approval for me to study for the MA was hugely appreciated and meeting Ewan Crawford at the start of the learning experience was a pleasure. It was sad I didn’t see much of him during the year as he moved on from UWS to start work at the Scottish Government around a year ago. I hope he is well.
I want to thank all the staff, guest speakers and other people who taught, helped and gave me advice over this past year or so. Whilst regrettably I cannot list every last member of staff (please do not feel hurt either, you are definitely not forgotten for your good), I want to pay tribute especially to Elizabeth McLaughlin, James Mahon, David Holmes, Shona Wallace, Peter Geoghegan, Christine Jardine, Blane Savage, Tony Grace and Alison Bell.
I want to thank everyone else I met on campus, especially my fellow comrades within the same cohort I was within who were aiming for the same successful outcome. Some went on to either achieve an MA award, a postgraduate diploma or are continuing to aim to achieve their qualification in the near future, God willing. I will miss many good people and hope not to lose contact with people who, in spirit, are my comrades and could be people I work in collaboration with elsewhere within professional environments in the future. Major congratulations to all of my fellow graduates and best wishes to everyone pursuing their career aspirations.
I also want to thank Chemist and Druggist, Common Space, Global Campus Network, Global Newsroom (Glasgow) and Kingdom FM News for allowing me the opportunity to further my development as a broadcast journalist. I also thank everyone involved with my MA project during the past summer.
Also, thanks must go to Stagecoach (East Scotland and West Scotland) for their excellent standard of bus service which I made use of to commute to and back from my campus in Ayr. A daily commute from home in Fife to Ayr was around three hours each way. I opted not to re-locate west as that was financially unaffordable.
One of my big highlights of 2016/17 was anchoring Scotland’s coverage of international online television programme ‘From Where We Stand’ on Global Campus Network which previewed last year’s US Presidential Election. Presentation is my major strength in journalism and my favourite aspect of being a broadcast journalist, especially live. But’s it’s important to realise there are many more important activities and tasks like production, research and writing, the latter of the three where I’ve grown a much enhanced appreciation over the last year or so.
Ultimately, I thank God for granting me the opportunity to be bold enough to start properly pursuing my dream career direction. Hard work, passion and a determination to win are essential ingredients for success and without them over the last year and a bit, I would have not achieved my MA qualification.
God willing, may I and everyone else continue to self-develop professionally and elsewhere in life to the best possible standards. This is not a time for anything less than excellence. Without doubt, there will be challenges and mistakes to learn from, but this is human. But it is important to always improve. And it is always important to strive to win.
All praise is due to God alone.