Education—a nine-letter word that somehow carries the weight of the world.
It’s something that many take advantage of, while others don’t even see it as a possibility.
I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, during the ongoing Somali civil war. My mother had three children—my older sister, me and my younger brother.
Shortly after we were born both my parents passed away. My aunt and uncle took us all in when they were only 19.
Life in America
I immigrated to the U.S. when I was very young and gained the unique perspective of what it means to be an American.
There are many complexities that come with being a young Somali woman in America. Teachers and students often look to me as the “spokesperson” for Muslim women, immigrants and black people in general.
It has taught me to have a stronger voice, but simultaneously has made me feel this uncomfortable pressure to always have the answer to positively represent and even defend people who look like me. Through experiences like these I’ve grown very self-aware.
The greatest thing for me will be to finally provide my own narrative. Helping people see past the one-dimensional view of a person of color or a woman in a hijab. Proving that I am far more than any label one can give me. I am creative, articulate, intelligent and open to learning from different perspectives.
‘Education Is the Answer’
In my heart and mind, I carry with me all the kids back in Somalia who may not have the opportunity to receive an education.
I know that education is the answer to many of the world’s troubles—whether it’s poverty, ignorance, oppression or the many things in between. Circumstances in life can change so easily but you never forget the ideals that are instilled in you.
Education is important because I know it provides such an amazing opportunity to grow and change.
I think a huge part of going to college that will benefit me is finally having control over my education. One of the greatest obstacles I have faced in high school is feeling forced to be in classes that don’t ignite a passion in me. This produces a feeling of disengagement, which is not what a teacher should want for a student. Being able to choose my own path will help me achieve and enjoy my education more.
I prefer having the opportunity to pick classes that interest me. Education means nothing unless both the student and teacher want to be there.
My goal is to become an elementary school teacher.
I think it’s so important to invest in people when they’re young. I think everyone underestimates the teachers you have when you’re young. They are the first people you’re exposed to besides your parents. Children are at such a great stage in life at this point. They are excited about learning. They don’t have any hate in their heart and the world still holds magic.
I also want to join the Peace Corps and teach children all over the world. I know that teaching is the right path for me because I couldn’t imagine a life without it. I just want to give back to people who truly deserve the opportunity to receive an education. The greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of education.