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Birzeit Top Undergrad in 2015, Pursues Doctorate in Physics

November 2, 2015
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Muath Natsheh, a 22-year-old student from the city of Hebron had been recently awarded a bachelor degree in Physics with a GPA of 95.3. He not only completed his four-year undergraduate degree in three years, but also scored a full mark in the international GRE Physics test, which qualified him to skip masters and pursue a Doctorate in Physics.

Muath’s outstanding journey at Birzeit University proved to be just the beginning of a new chapter in his life; a chapter that will be much brighter yet equally difficult and filled with people who will try to put him down. 

The shy looking young man with a cleft chin never accepted less than the first place on every honor list during his three years at Birzeit University. Muath’s hard work and excellence granted him the honor of being selected as the valedictorian of the 2015 graduation ceremony.

With an apparent sense of pride Muath said, “I scored 99% in 11 courses and graduated with the highest GPA in Birzeit University in 2015.” 

Sharing the secret to his success, Muath said his rock-hard faith and love for what he did is the reason he made it this far. “Many people used to tell me that I would be lucky if I ever become a teacher in one of the local schools, but I never cared about what they think.”

After completing his studies in Birzeit University, Muath applied to the GRE Physics test in the US, which enabled him to forgo masters and apply to pursue a PhD degree in Physics. He explained, “I scored a full mark in the test after studying for a whole month. During this time, I read all possible topics related to Physics, even the ones I never took in university.”

Despite having to read tens of books and familiarize himself with new concepts, Muath achieved yet another goal. He received a full scholarship and is now pursuing a PhD at one of the finest schools in the US, the University of New York. “I plan to continue my studies and obtain a post-doctorate. My goal is to attain a deeper level of scientific expertise. I want to achieve something for Palestine.”

Even though Muath was able to achieve something that many find tricky, his journey was never an easy one. He confessed that the educational system in Palestine has never been capable of providing him with what he wished to learn. Surprisingly, Muath’s GPA never surpassed 80% back at school.

He recalled, “One of my teachers once wondered why people like me come to school.” The seemingly oblivious teacher advised Muath to drop out of school and find some useful work to do. 

Muath said, “I had this burning desire to study when I was a student at school, but no one understood me. I was fond of geography during elementary school and I learned the entire map of the world by heart.”

While still in the sixth grade Muath mastered the map of the world and memorized the names of all countries and cities.

In secondary school, he developed a passion for history. Muath read all about ancient empires and nations. He learned by heart the details of all wars that took place during the twentieth century. And during high school, Muath’s classmates referred to him as the “Math Genius”.

When Muath realized his passion for science and math, he was in the tenth grade. His school’s principle informed all students about a science research contest. Muath knew this was his chance to share his ideas about something he truly cares about. 

“I wrote a 50-page long research in two months.” Using only a pen and his vivid imagination, Muath completed his research but missed the deadline. That didn’t deter him from turning in his research to the principle though. “I asked the principle to send the research to anyone who might be interested, because I knew it took a huge effort on my part to finish it.”

The principle had asked the young student to put the research in his office, however Muath believes the research never saw daylight again. Refusing to give up, Muath decided to send his research to several university lecturers, but no one paid attention to him.

“They were all puzzled. One of them asked me about my references, but I tried to explain that the research is a personal analysis and I didn’t need to use any references. Another doctor told me that the language of the research was not scientific enough; I told him I was only fifteen so how does he expect me to use a scientific language.” 

Years of experience have taught Muath that the behavior of each society member is the factor that determines that society’s development or impairment. “The way individuals act and solve issues determines the quality and quantity of their on-ground progress.”

“To change our lives,” the Math Genius said, “we need to start with ourselves as members of this society. We also must try to change those around us to become the productive individuals that we should be.”

The secret to success as Muath pointed out is to love what you choose to do. “You must love what you do, to eventually do what you love. To simply want something is never enough, you must love the path leading to that goal as well.”

Despite being a very difficult journey for him, Muath loved his years at Birzeit University. Looking back at those years now, he only remembers himself as a happy and satisfied student.

“Choose a field that you love and never settler for something because you think it will guarantee you a job after graduation. It is a terrible idea to study and work in a field that you hate just to get more money,” Muath concluded. 

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