in #skolafunded, Articles, Education

When Luqman Alhakim was on exchange in Mexico, his international friends (from 17 different countries!) discovered the perfect nickname for him.

“Mexico is Star Wars-crazy,” says Luqman. So obviously, they called him Luke. Luke Skywalker.

You don’t know him? Here’s a picture:

Luqman Skywalker.

Notice how Luqman uses the force to stick his lightsaber to his hand – amazing, he is.

(Check back tomorrow for an article about Luke’s experience in Mexico – only on #skolafunded!)

After a 2-hour interview that felt like just 15 minutes, we can definitely agree that Luqman is truly an extremely interesting Jedi. Don’t believe us? Here are some facts about him:

  • After his UPSR, Luqman took a 2-year sabbatical to memorise the entire Qur’an at Maahad Tahfiz Al-Qur’an Hira’ – he was only 13!
  • Before starting his studies in Egypt, Luqman went to Syria for 3 months by himself, just to learn their language and culture
  • While studying in Egypt, he baked cakes for his housemates but his best dishes are: lauk masak merah, black pepper and laksa
  • In his final year, Luqman raised RM9,147 in just 30 days through crowdfunding, and used the money to help him afford an exchange trip to Mexico

A few months ago, Luqman successfully graduated from al-Azhar University.

Now, he’s back in his Shah Alam hometown, working for a Malaysian startup called Speedrent, while waiting for an interview date with Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam (SPA) and Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM).

Being such an interesting person who has excelled in so many fields, we caught up with Luqman to find out some of the tips he used in his studies! Here they are, collected specially for you:

Tip #1: Make The Most of Every Situation

If you had asked Luqman 5 years ago what he wanted to study, he would never have said Medicine.

Although he would grow to love it, his other choices for higher education would have been: Culinary, Literature or Mass Communication – worlds away from his current career path!

Luqman looking all interesting at the Egyptian National Museum.

Luqman looking all cool and interesting at the Egyptian National Museum.

Luqman tells us that his parents’ hopes and dreams for their children played a huge role in determining his choice of studies. After his SPM results, Luqman’s parents gave him only 5 courses to choose from – law, business, accounting, engineering and medicine.

While he accepted their desires and chose to pursue medicine, he also wanted to give his 2 younger siblings a chance to choose their own path. He did this simply by inviting his parents to a movie date:

“Before I left for Egypt, I got my parents to watch the movie 3 Idiots with me. I prepared drinks and snacks. But I didn’t tell them anything about the movie.

And after it, I didn’t say anything either. But they were clearly affected.

My father even asked me: ‘Luqman, are you sure you want to study medicine?’”

Before flying to Egypt, Luqman promised his father he would try for at least a year. But above all, he hoped that his younger siblings would be given the chance to pursue their own choices in the future – and his parents agreed.

The rest is history.

(Here are 3 lessons Luqman Skywalker learnt from the time he crowdfunded his exchange program to Mexico – you have to read it now.)

Tip #2: On Goats and Trees

Exams are an inevitable part of studying. You can’t escape it.

For those of us who don’t know (we didn’t!), Medicine at al-Azhar University is a 6-year course – but in your 3rd year, the exams are so difficult that 50% of the batch will fail, and have to retake the entire year.

Luqman survived his 3rd Year, and even obtained a grade of Jayyid Jiddan (Very Good) in 3 consecutive years – an amazing achievement.

He describes studying for each subject as attempting to describe a tree. If you know nothing about the roots and trunk of the tree, then your understanding of the specific branches of the subject will also be weak! 

That’s why building a strong foundation in the key concepts should be the focus of every student at the start.

Of course, anyone who’s ever sat for an exam knows that you can forget everything you’ve ever learnt – sometimes even the lecturer’s name. That’s when you use Luqman’s favourite piece of advice.

Poor goat.

Poor goat. (Source: Whisper)

During an exam, if you can’t explain a tree, then tie a goat to the tree and explain the goat!

Even though Luqman’s laughter when telling this shows that this is obviously a joke, he insists there were many times where he did just that. So if you’re ever truly stuck in an exam, you know what to do (;

Tip #3: Community is Everything

At every stage of your journey as a student, always remind yourself: someone has already gone through this – and survived.

The smartest thing to do would be to ask them: How?

For Luqman, he shares that he feels blessed to have a strong community of batchmates in Egypt, as well as from the medical field in Malaysia.

For example, he tells us that every state in Malaysia has a Whatsapp or Facebook group for all Medicine students or practicing doctors to share information, tips and advice!

Doctor, could you check my biceps please?

…or sometimes they just do things like this.

One valuable resource that stands out is the interview tips that these doctors have for their young juniors, who must go through an interview with the Ministry of Health (KKM) before being assigned to a hospital.

They even have a “question bank,” where those who have gone through the entire process share everything that they know. All of this just to ease the worries of the doctors-to-be, many of whom who, like Luqman, have just returned from 6 years of intense studying.

Luqman believes that this sense of community, which he also felt strongly during his time in Egypt, is one of the things he loves most about being a medical student.

As the Jedi doctor might say, “Together, we are. Stronger, we will be.”

Wise words, Dr Luqman.

We believe that crowdfunding changes lives. #skolafunded is a feature on the Skolafund Blog that aims to cover stories of those whose lives have been changed after crowdfunding on Check out the previous stories here:

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