Rebirth: A second chance in life
A brief history
Hailing from Bangladesh, where work culture tailors you to overburdening, I was already accustomed to working 9 hours a day, 6 days a week coming with a bonus of 3 hours daily in traffic – all of this topped with little appreciation or words of ridicule from higher officials at the slightest indication of a mistake. As insanely progressive as this environment may seem to employers, it was the opposite to me as I completely lost my purpose, and was crawling into a hole of depression, until my wife reached out and helped me quit.
How I ended up choosing the University of Oulu
After hearing from a friend, the websites and the internet have been my source of motivation.
Owing to a dream to develop sustainable solutions as well as a passion for operation and project management, I spent an ample amount of time learning about why Finland is the happiest country in the world alongside surfing through the webpage of the Industrial Engineering and Management programme known as Product and Project Management and came across a unique field of specialization, Product Management.
As I scrolled through the country’s incredible social security system and the University’s study curriculum offering comprehensive interdisciplinary education incorporating business model development, operative sales, and finance, as well as integrated research emphasizing creating a green, intelligent, and humane world, it did not take long for me to fall in love. On top of that, since funding was vital, the programme previously offered an attractive scholarship, which I was later selected for, locking Oulu as my next destination.
No false promises (after a year of experience)
In all honestly, I never knew that assignments or classes could offer someone a rush of dopamine instead of stress. Gladly advocating the information provided on websites, I think the most wonderful aspects about this program are industry affiliation with courses as well as a practical and enjoyable learning environment.
For instance, courses like Advanced Product Development and Product Lifecycle Management provided a thrilling experience to interview employees of big companies, find connections with academic knowledge and gather the guts to propose suggestions.
Furthermore, we had to play a computer game as project work in Advanced Project Management to allocate resources and reflect on how it could be played better to attain the highest points. Apart from courses, while facing difficulty to cope with wildly informal teacher-student relationships, I was surprised by the dedication of professors who were always available to support students, either in the form of instant email responses or by personally reaching out to those who struggle with studies.
One real example – a different teacher was assigned to a student who was not able to pass a course several times because the previous teacher thought about connecting with the pupil with another perspective – eventually, it worked!
On a different note, in the advent of Industry 5.0 centered around human, sustainability and resilience, I think Finland might be a forerunner not only because of its technological advancements but owing to the adaptation of a social system that supports this new world order.
In particular Oulu has welcomed me into a community with astonishingly little discrimination among people in terms of income and respect regardless of whether an individual is a cleaner or engineer.
Life in the Capital of Northern Ostrobothnia opened my eyes to several new perspectives.
I realized; well-being is a real thing, competition can be aimed towards mutual growth and employees/students deserve to be highly valued; I learned, it is not a crime to make time for hobbies or take leave from work if you feel sick; in fact, these are encouraged.
Additionally, as someone who never experienced anything below +15 °C, this city taught me the incredible extent of adaptability possessed by a human body to survive in -25 °C! Besides, during difficult days, Oulu showed its superpower by engulfing me in the serenity of nature helping to find answers to questions hurled by life.
On top of all, I understood the unparalleled significance of a content life over a wealthy one.
Here, education goes far beyond the boundaries of an aesthetic campus or sophisticated books; it compliments resilience while keeping humanity at the centre of a collaborative expedition towards a livable world.
Interestingly, despite two part-time jobs, I never missed a class or assignment deadline and have always been on time for weekly football sessions; all with pleasure, not as a death-race.
That very morning, after stepping into my home following a 25-minute hike, I stumbled on one more major discovery. As always, my favourite breakfast was already served on the table while a pair of sleepy, yet twinkling eyes sat by it waiting for my arrival.
Suddenly, a corner of my conscience struck – alongside all the wonderful aspects of Oulu and the University, a silent but pivotal role in making all these life-changing adventures possible was in fact played by another entity – the lovely human being I am married to. In addition to pacifying a growling stomach, the breakfast also cured a heart that could only utter, Alhumdulillah (praise be to God) for everything with every bite.
About the author
Mohammed Towhidur Rahman, a happy Muslim from Bangladesh, is a final year MSc student in the Product and Project Management programme with several years of job experience in this field. Inspired by religion, his aim is to pursue inner peace through knowledge and be of service to every life form along the way.