His Teacher Once Called Him A Failure. Today, This Malaysian Is An Award-Winning Inventor

"Do not ever waste any opportunities that are given to us, because some of us may never ever get that second chance."

Cover image via DrMidhat Nabil

Dr Midhat Nabil Ahmad Salimi may be enjoying his run of success today as a senior lecturer and inventor but not many know that he faced a series of failures that had lasted for years

Dr Midhat Nabil Ahmad Salimi (right) receiving an award at the Invention Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) this year.

Image via DrMidhat Nabil

The senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) has received multiple accolades including gold awards from the Invention Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) over the last few years for his work.

Most people would have thought that Midhat has always been a bright student who went on to be a lecturer but he has opened up about his past failures and journey in this life. Midhat shared about how he went from being a youngster that was being branded as a failure by his own teacher to someone who is now teaching and educating the younger generation.

Read what he has to say below:

I am compelled to share my story about my past learning experiences. Many of my own students thought that I was a brilliant student since my schooling days. But this isn't true.

Image via DrMidhat Nabil

For a start, my UPSR results were good, where I've obtained 2A's and 3C's. However, after that, my academic performance continued to plummet due to my own laziness in learning. For PMR, I only managed 2A's and a C for Maths, dampening my dreams to enter the science stream.

With a heavy heart, I continued my studies in the accounting stream. But luck was on my side, as my school was providing students with an opportunity to exchange their courses into the science stream. This measure was introduced to increase the amount of science students at my school.

I met up with the headmaster to express my wish to switch to the science stream, but he did not agree to allow me to proceed because of my poor PMR results.

I made an earnest promise to him that I'll learn as much as possible and finally he agreed to allow me to enter the science stream.

Once I got into the Science stream studies, I felt that I had made a wrong decision.

The pure science subjects that I took were too difficult for me to follow, coupled with the Additional Mathematics subject that was considered as a "killer subject" to all science students.

I got some of the worse results in my entire class (never passing the Additional Mathematics subject for even once) for all the annual examinations. My class teacher was worried.

Finally, when the actual SPM results were announced, the results I obtained were utterly terrible.

My teacher handed me the results slip and told me that I will not have a bright future, and I silently agreed with her in my heart.

Image via DrMidhat Nabil

After that, I tried to continue my studies at various institutions. Unfortunately, all my applications were rejected one after another.

That was when my episode as a production operator at Denso factory in Bangi begun. After six months, I took up a job offer as a sales assistant at the Guardian pharmacy in Kajang.

Not too long after that, I received information that those who did not excel during SPM could continue their studies in a pre-science course in Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).

This course serves to prepare students and refresh them in their science knowledge ahead of the admission into the UiTM Diploma program.

If students successfully obtain a CGPA of 3.00 and above for the first half of pre-science course, they are eligible to attend diploma programs in UiTM. However, if their CGPA falls short of the 3.00 benchmark, they would have to attend a follow-up course for the second semester.

Alhamdullilah, I was accepted into this program at UiTM Jengka, Pahang.

Unfortunately, for my first semester, my CGPA was only at 1.92. The results that I have gotten was a "fail" and I was dismissed from the course.

Image via DrMidhat Nabil

After knowing my own results, I thought that the world ahead of me was full of darkness.

So, I went back to work part-time after that. Parents also felt very frustrated and gave up on me. But after a week after that, my mother got a call from UiTM Jengka who said that they want to allow me to pursue the second semester of the pre-Science course, as my CGPA was just a little below the 2.00 standard.

After hearing this news, I made a promise in front of my parents to really change and not repeat my past mistakes.

I went through the second semester and Alhamdullilah, I achieved a GPA of 3.25.

I made many changes to my lifestyle including meeting diligently with lecturers, doing many revisions, finding information at the library and joining study groups.

Since then, I have not looked back and keep up that momentum in my studies.

I furthered my studies in UiTM Arau, Perlis, pursuing a diploma course in Industrial Chemicals.

After that, I went on to study Bachelor of Engineering (Hons.) Chemical and emerged as the first student in the faculty to graduate with a first class honours, thus allowing me to convert my National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loan into a scholarship.

Then, I enrolled myself for master's in Biochemical Engineering at the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, UK. I became the second best student under the programme and was offered to continue my studies at the same university for a PhD in Chemical Engineering.

Alhamdullilah, I completed my PhD within four years and my thesis was nominated as one of the best thesis.

So, it is not impossible if we do not succeed in the present, but it does not mean that we will fail forever. The most important thing is to learn from our past failures and never give up.

Insya-Allah, if I can be successful today, all of you certainly can do it too. I adhere to the purposes of the Al-Quran, Surah ar-R'ad (paragraph 11), which reads, "Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves."

Alhamdulillah, I thank You for all the blessings which You have given to me over the years, Amin.

Finally, do not ever waste any opportunities that are given to us, because some of us may never ever get that second chance.

This is an honest writing by a man who was not given any hope by anyone once upon a time.

My deepest gratitude towards UiTM for making me who I am today, and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) for allowing me to make a living here. Thank God.

Living in the city ain’t a piece of cake but it could also be exciting and adventurous. How are you coping? How are you making the best out of things? Do you have a story or experience to share?

SUBMIT YOUR STORY NOW, or work on it and send it soon. Share a personal experience, your story as an urban city-dweller in Malaysia, whether it’s yours or from someone you know, email [email protected] or FB message us.

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Stay tuned for the next episode!

Previously on Malaysian City Life #41, Nizam Mustapha shared about how much his parents had sacrificed just to see him obtain a degree:

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