Police officer extraordinaire DSP Dr Mohd Roslan Mohd Tahir, 53, is a pioneering graduate from the PhD (Arts) programme. This father of four from Johor received his scroll at the Special Convocation on 19 February. Read on to find out more about his incredible journey at OUM.

Some of you may wonder why a man in his 50s would still be passionate about continuing his studies. But nothing is by accident, and looking back, I can honestly say that I have given my all to ensure that my dream could be fulfilled.

My life philosophy can be summarised with these two sayings: “If there is a will, there is a way”, and “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. I always remind myself to be true to who I am, to listen to my heart as much as I listen to my mind, and to pay careful attention to the voice of my conscience.

I am a multiple OUM graduate. After completing the Master of Occupational Safety and Health Risk Management in 2014, I felt even more passionate about learning. So, I came back to OUM to pursue the PhD (Arts) programme, and ultimately, open my way to a brighter future.

I am also a police officer. You would expect police officers to be clear-headed, quick on our feet, respectful, and strong. You may see in me a true blue policeman, but believe it or not, my PhD journey made me cry. I remember how I would sometimes stare at the computer screen for long periods, and not produce a single word.

Almost every two weeks, I travelled from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur on weekends to discuss my study progress with my supervisor. In all these trips, I am fortunate to have my wife as my loyal driving buddy.

Dr Roslan and his beloved wife Norasimah at the Convocation.

Being a PhD candidate can feel very isolating and overwhelming. Added to this is the weight of the research. It has to be an original piece; one that is mine and mine alone. So, a PhD candidate needs to be dedicated, and willing to spend entire days in libraries or poring through archives and online resources without seeing anyone at all. Here, the bond that one has with the supervisor matters a lot.

Before going to work, I would spend at least two hours on thesis writing. While my wife and children slept, I would spend another four hours on this. In fact, I stayed awake for 48 hours during my final preparation before submitting my thesis.

Somehow, I managed to push through, and I was determined to become a successful police officer with the highest qualification. And I can say today that I have made it.

The best things in life are meant to be shared, and I think our stories can be the greatest gifts we can share with each other. So, I hope my story can encourage others to never stop learning, face the journey fearlessly, and be brave enough to follow our dreams regardless of our age or status.

Remember that if you focus on obstacles, you will find plenty of them. But if you focus on the path leading to personal success, you can achieve it. Success can happen when you try your best. If you have given your all, you should feel proud of your efforts.

Remember also that each of us has something unique to offer to this learning community. The opportunity to be an OUM learner is also an opportunity to shape OUM into a great University that will allow us to make the kind of impact that we might otherwise not be able to make.

I salute all of you, OUM graduates!