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Father's last words help Malaysian PhD student to battle depression, complete her doctorate

Her late father’s last words stayed in her mind as PhD student Norhidayu Hasan picked herself up from depression and continued with her studies.

“Knowledge is everywhere; don’t ever feel tired or bored in your quest for knowledge,” he told her before passing in 2019 – during the first year of her studies. 

The 29-year-old from Pahang was especially close to her father, and she went through a bout of depression that lasted three months after he died from heart failure.

"My father passed away so suddenly. I lost my will to continue (my studies), and I almost gave up. Losing my father was as if I lost my wings, hands, and feet. I felt so stressed and I cried every day," Norhidayu said.

But remembering his words, she picked herself back up. 

On Tuesday (Nov 29), she graduated from her PhD course in Language and Malay Linguistics at University Putra Malaysia (UPM).

Speaking with reporters at the convocation ceremony in Serdang, Norhidayu described the day as a "bittersweet" one.

"My parents made sacrifices for me that are too many to repeat. My strength comes from my parents and without them, there would not be me," she said while holding back tears.

"My family lives far from my place of study. But I had my best friend who has helped me through so much. My older sister also always supported me and I would sometimes go to her home to be with her," she added.

Norhidayu now plans to pursue her dream of becoming a lecturer.

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