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“Sacrifices have to be made for greatness…”

Eng. Isayas Semere is a man who believes that life is better when it is supported by education. Pursuing his dreams of becoming a mechanic wasn’t enough for him. Besides working as a member of the Air Force, he continued to get different distance education programs. He was able to earn various diplomas. He wanted to be more than what he already was and decided to work hard and get the matriculation exam for the second time to join college. Not only did he manage to join and learn in college, but he graduated as the best student of the entire Engineering department. But that is not what makes him happy……it is his son who wants to be just like his dad.


  • The reason you have joined the Air Force instead of joining the university after getting a good score the first time?

You are right, it is a bit strange. However I have always had the dream of becoming a mechanic. I studied a field that is called Auto mechanics and got my diploma from the technical school. I joined the air force to enhance my knowledge of the field.
The Air Force gave us a difficult exam at the beginning. For those who passed the exams were yet other harder and deeper courses for about a year and half. It was different and interesting since we had good teachers.

  • Why did you take the matriculation exams for the second time?

Well, I am really not sure why but you start to understand about the value of education when you get in to work. So before I took the matriculation exams, I took a distance education in 2001 after I was assigned to work in the offices. So when I decided to register, I heard that for those who register early there would be a discount of one curse out of three. So I registered early to get the benefit of another free course and I got my three advanced diploma programs in management.
While studying and working, many of us were waiting for the second chance of getting into education. Even though we weren’t young anymore and that affects the will of getting e d u c a t i o n , sacrifices had to be made for greatness. Another reason that made it hard to take this exam was that my previous score of the 1998 matriculation exam was c a n c e l l e d . Based on the rule of the Board of Higher Education, the results are only valid for five years. That is why I had to take the exam again in 2012.

  • In which of those two exams would you say you have done your best?

Well, the first time I had the exam, I was only thinking to lead my life with the field I had already gotten in. For that reason, I didn’t do my best in the exam. For the second time, I had an aim. I wanted to do great and I worked and challenged myself especially since I was informed that I could do the exam and before there were just six months to be ready. But I pushed myself to do well and I did great, better than I did the first time.

  • How was college life for you?

All you need is to be disciplined and have a vision. Anyone can do whatever they dream of if they believe and put much effort to what they want. College life can be tough especially since we were a bit older than the other students there. Nonetheless, the secret is to know yourself and push yourself. These past five years are the times I have worked myself to the limit. It has finally paid off. I graduated with 3.96 GPA becoming a student with the highest score.
But college life can be challenging. For instance I haven’t visited anyone in the past five years. Also the sleep I got was shorter than any time of my life; but it was all worth it.

  • Most of the time people who get back to school do great than those who join college straight from high school?

I think we understand the value of education more because life has taught us. To be honest, they are the ones with better minds that can work for better results. But I don’t think they put the needed hard work (not all of them). I don’t think the preparations they make when the exams are near is enough. But those who got the second chance of education want to change their life. They fully understand the importance of getting the right education; that is why they excel.

  • You were the best student of the entire engineering department…

It was a time I would never forget not only because I have finished my education with a good mark but to see my family truly happy and proud. Again, my prize winning made a huge impact on my eldest son. I am proud to hear him say that he wants to be like me when he grows up. I am happier that my family are satisfied.

  • You were already married with two kids by the time you joined college, right?

Yes. Future is scary when you are steeping forward, but I wasn’t scared because I had my wife on my back. She supported me with everything she got. We had a vision that great opportunities would come after graduating and that is why we pursued our plan. I know that my family has sacrificed for me and I am truly grateful.

  • What do you think is important to be successful?

Not only to be successful but to have a vision is important in life, I would say. Also, you have to be decisive in things you think can be good for you.

  • Anything you want to add at the end?

People are more concerned about the sacrifices they make to get where they are but I think they should be even more focused to see the life after getting their dreams. It is right that getting education can be hard at times and even demand huge sacrifices, but let’s all think how great our lives could be when supported with knowledge.
At last, I would like to thank God for everything that has happened to me. Also, it is because of my family that I got to experience this success and I would like to show my gratitude and hope to create a better life for them. This success is not only mine; it is the Air Force’s as well and I would like to thank them for their support, to the teachers of the EIT College, especially the chemical engineering department.

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