This evening I withdrew my applications from King's and Manchester. Rather reluctantly I must say.
King's was the first to respond to my application. The MA convenor and admissions tutor Dr. Andrea Schatz said that after reading my personal statement, she "was happy to recommend you for an offer
conditional on achieving the standard academic requirement (a GPA of
3.5 - it looks as if your results are going to be even better)." After seven years of building up this dream, that e-mail made me feel like my aspirations (LOL sorry I can't get used to this word, it's so propaganda-ish, like "transformation") are validated. Whenever I had time to kill in the UIA Library, I used to lean against the book cases in level 4 and flip through volume after volume of the Journal of Jewish Studies, of which Dr. Schatz is the book reviews editor. So imagine how I felt when this distinguished lady, whose name I often saw in the journals*, wrote to tell me that I have been accepted to join the MA programme that she is leading!
The University of Manchester's Centre for Jewish Studies, on the other hand, was the very first institution for Jewish Studies that I looked up after SPM, and when I received an e-mail last December (I was preparing for my final exams -- I opened my inbox to good news from King's and Manchester on the same night ^^) from their MA Admissions Officer, Dr. Peter Oakes, who wrote that "(your) application looks very strong and I have been very happy
to recommend that we offer you a place (conditional on your good GPA
being maintained in your overall result)". He then advised me to start prep reading on the subject since I'm an utter noob in Jewish Studies [Of course he didn't say it like that].
When I declined SOAS's offer sometime in April, it felt strangely like breaking away from tradition, (just) because a couple of my History lecturers in IIUM studied there.
Deciding between the offers was very hard. There was something that I really wanted from every university/course that offered me a place, because each one had their strengths. But I had to pick only one, and then declined the rest as soon as I could because those places could be offered to other applicants if I withdrew my application -- and since places for postgraduate studies are usually very limited, it wouldn't be fair for me to hold on to my offer for too long.
A few days ago, a current student of UCL's MA Jewish History** hello'ed me on Facebook, and from what she's been telling me about the course and department, I know that I've made the right decision. To think that I only applied to UCL just because!
Alhamdulillah 'ala kulli hal wa ni'mah. It hasn't been easy. But I chose to do this, so I must be prepared to face the consequences and challenges. I'm super grateful to have friends like Mizah, Azam and Adam (may all our dreams come true. If we do it right, maybe we can change the status quo someday).
Thank you, too, to my Darul Quran BFFs (Kak Fi, Iimaan, kak Seri, kak So, Mai, Ummu, Jiha, Auni, Zahidah, Kak Sarah, Rina, Wani, Khaulah, Farhana...and by extension: Aminah, kak Fiza Jalil, Najwa hahaha apesal tak senaraikan nama semua AQRAB je) for everything. Everything.
*along with Professor Sacha Stern, who is on UCL's Hebrew and Jewish Studies faculty woot! I can hardly wait to study ancient Jewish history/ancient Judaism with him.
** the course's full title is MA Language, Culture and History: Jewish Studies.
And He plans
4 months ago