Why I didn’t attend my graduation.

3 min read

…I kinda sorta fell asleep, and here’s why “Degrees” are bullshit.

Alright, who’s next — alright Nabeel Tahir, may you please approach the stage.

“He’s not here.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s asleep, I think.”

“He’s not here for his graduation?!”

I wasn’t actually asleep, I was sitting around our share-house with my buddies thinking of how this was the end; it was time to grow up — get out in the real world.

I didn’t want to have to pay $80 for a loaned graduation-gown and a hat, another $60 for a “Professional Photograph”, and a few seconds of stage-time to grab an empty tube (Yeap, they don’t actually give you the real degree on stage — it’s mailed out later. It’s just an empty tube, like the one that we wrap toilet paper around).

An empty tube is all my academic career is, really — I’m the guy that spent over half a million on degrees I never used once in my professional life.

The experience was handy, and still applies in practical aspects of my life to this day.

The education or the degree though, arguable.

Knowledge and experience, invaluable.

Though fair-disclosure I do work within the world of Academia as a Researcher, but that’s not why I stuck around.

I hoped to save students the trouble of figuring out if it’s all worth it.

If they’ll land their “dream job” in their chosen field of study.

I wasn’t going to sit around and let Professors claim otherwise.

Here’s a list of my “Academic Accomplishments”,

Bachelor studies in Computational Design, Major in Architecture.

Masters in Artificial Intelligence / Architectural Computing.

Doctorate in Cyber Forensics / Data Analytics.

My practical accomplishments?


Associate Researcher.

Adjunct Professor.





Business Strategy Advisor.

Investment Consultant.

Cyber Auditor.

Only two of the above actually required me to have a half a million dollars worth of education; and the cost / benefit ratio was never justified.

So, when students ask me — is it worth it?

Only if your career choice ABSOLUTELY requires you to have a degree.



Doctor / Physician.

and that’s it. Seriously.

What about Engineering? Nope. Companies have hired engineers based purely on merit.

Surely Science…? Nope.

None of it.

That’s seriously fucking it, those the the only two occupations which require a degree; and there’s no guarantee you’ll land a job either — it’s years of grilling and constant learning.

My father’s a lawyer, my entire family is full of lawyers.

They still have to keep learning to this day.

Same goes for Doctors, their education is never over.

I monetised on my academic qualifications enough that I wouldn’t need to worry about money, to buy myself a little financial freedom, a little creative wiggle room, to finally come to terms with out of the list of careers I have under my belt; to determine which ones I value the most.




Writing, so that I can express myself.

Invest, so that I can sustain my wealth.

Research, so that I can help contribute and share my knowledge.

Which brings me to the other problem I had with the world of Academia, Research papers are too damn expensive.

If we made research documentation available to individuals, and the vast amount of knowledge that is out there for free;

Such a Codecademy and YouTube.

We won’t need universities anymore.

The late Aaron Swartz learnt that the hard way.

But we sure like to feel relevant.

Which is where the political play comes in, we need to stay relevant — so we associate ourselves with “Causes”.

Which isn’t a bad-way of saying “We’d like to help out”.

It’s also a great way to keep that endowment from being yanked away.

“We’re under budget this year, on research.”


“Yeah, it’s wonderful.”

“No get more research approved, find me some to justify the cost.”

“But…we were able to do just fine this year. We got enough left”

“You don’t understand. We under-spend, they cut our budget. Find me research to fund.”

Instead of finding research to fund, I ran around The Oval (The football field) in circles.

Can’t remember for how long, but it was at least a Rolling Stones album worth of time.

Wanna meet my hero, here you go.

That right there, is a man of his word — rock solid.

A person who truly believes in education, and has the courage to do what the university couldn’t at the time; post his lectures online for free.

He’s the reason I went to the University of New South Wales.

Though, when I did arrive; he was suffering, he’d been diagnosed with Cancer.

He survived, continued, and does so to this day.

He’s everything, I’m not.

He’s charismatic, a great leader, a tremendous mentor, and most of all someone who doesn’t run away — instead continues on doing what he loves, Educating people.

No matter how, No matter where.

So, when people ask me what the greatest accomplishment was from my years at university — I tell ’em look up Richard Buckland, because I had the privilege to attend one of his lectures; for free.

Thank you for reading.

Nabeel Tahir Nabeel is a research analyst and CEO of Honeycomb, a private investment consultation business, which is based out of both the U.A.E. and Pakistan. Previous he worked in the academic research field at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where he completed his research doctorate in Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism.

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