What’s something that you are passionate about?
I would say I’ve always been passionate about the underdog. Probably Islamically speaking I guess, these days, Islam is the underdog at the moment with all the bad publicity that’s going around. I didn’t become a Muslim for that reason but it just seems to work out that way.
Was there a moment that contributed to your attitude in supporting the underdog?
I have thought about this question and I come from a working class family and my father worked as a shearer in outback Queensland, my father was a strong Labor supporter and was a union member. So I am sure that this has had a contribution to my inclination to support the underdog. I believe in the tenets of ‘having a fair go’ and social equity. Everyone has a speciality within them it just needs the right environment and chances to bring that speciality out. Unfortunately not everyone gets the opportunity.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
That I’m a Muslim. I was talking to someone that was bringing me to this photoshoot and I go in a social group, and when something Islamic comes up and I tell them I’m a Muslim they are actually quite surprised. I get some positive feedback and I get some negative feedback but generally it’s not too bad.
What is the greatest risk you’ve taken?
I would say being a university student would be the greatest risk. Personal goals always have to have steps to achieve the bigger goal and I studied for 10 years part time. Over that period of time I had many times when I wanted to give up, so I think that was a big risk for me, to be able to achieve that as well.
How was returning to study as a mature aged student?
I left school with a grade 9 standard education and at the age of 30 I returned to TAFE to undertake a course that is equivalent to grade 12. I thoroughly loved learning how to construct an essay and the teachers were passionate and I was lucky to have nice class mates, some of whom I am still in contact with. I then reached university and this is where I knew I could not take a laid back approach. I became serious with my learning and it helped me to grow personally as well as academically. I think as a matured aged student you are there because you want to be there to study and also you have some life experience behind you so you grasp complex ideas more readily and ponder over them. For me it was like this.
Was there anything that surprised you about returning to study?
How large the class was at the start of the university course and how small it became over the length of the course. I became greatly aware of how privileged I was to have the life chance to study at university.
What’s something that has changed your life?
Just growing older I think changes your life. Different perceptions in the way that you view things, is not the way you viewed them 5 – 10 years ago. You’re always changing, always learning, and always growing.
What’s your best advice to give to other people?
Believe in yourself. Don’t let go of your goals and dreams. If you really want to attain something don’t let your dreams go. They have a way of circling back around and coming back around anyhow if they’re meant to be. So never lose sight of your goals.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
There’s one question when I go through hard times, there’s one question that I think to myself. What do people do when they don’t have a spiritual life? Who do they turn to? I know that I have this spiritual life and always knew that god was there. It must be difficult for a person to not have any god to turn to.