Student / Writer
What’s something that you are passionate about?
I think I’m at my happiest when I’m contributing to something. I do a lot of volunteer work, and I love to help and get involved in the community. Also I write, I’m a writer, so those are my two most peaceful and happiest moments.
What do you write about?
When I first started writing it was more personal experiences, to write to get things out of your head. It changed after learning about African history and learning about Islamic history, and that’s mostly now what I write about and what I’m passionate about sharing with people.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about writing, I’m passionate about educating fellow friends, fellow colleagues about our history. And that’s something that recently started, and surprised me that it’s something that drives me, and I’m passionate about getting involved and making a change somewhere, and for me that’s the greatest achievement.
What’s a significant achievement of yours?
If I have to say, I’d say always being someone who is willing to give a helping hand. I think that’s an achievement in itself, to be someone that’s more about giving rather than taking, I really count that as a thing that I do well. I get involved in a lot of organisations and do a lot of things. I can’t say just one thing.
What do you hope to achieve in 2016?
This year I’m going to get my website up and running, and finish writing my book. My book is sharing my experiences, young, in a time when change and things like that are very popular with the youth. My book is basically covering my side of the story, how I feel about things, poetry also, the things that I write, just basically putting my whole story collectively together.
Who is your role model?
This is going to sound really cliché. But I have to say my mother. My mum is my biggest role model. Unfortunately she didn’t get the chance to achieve what she wanted to achieve in her life due to her circumstances back home. But she’s my greatest role model because she still does so much with what she has, she drives us and she pushes us the furthest anyone can push you. I really really look up to her and I hope I can be the same sort of role model for my friends and for my kids in the future.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
My age, some people think I look older, some people think I look younger than my age. So they usually say “oh you’re this age, wow I thought you were younger, oh my god you look younger.” So there’s nothing really interesting.
For those that don’t know, can you share how you feel about wearing the hijab [head covering]?
I don’t think about it anymore, it’s not something that I’m conscious about. It’s just like wearing your t-shirt or your shoes.
Of course with the society we live in at times people make you feel out of place, people in public make you feel different and they’re not subtle about it especially with the things going on around the world.
Getting ready in the morning though, and looking in the mirror, I feel beautiful in it. It suits me, I’m proud of it.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?
Putting myself out there. I am very shy, very held back, I’ve always been the girl in the corner. I’ve come in a few months from being that person you never really noticed that they’re there, to someone who is out in the open on YouTube, posting her writing and I think that’s the biggest risk. Sharing the deepest, the most intimate parts of yourself with the world. And I think that’s risky because people judge.
As a shy person, how do you push yourself to get out there?
I use my fear of failure as a tool to motivate and drive my every move.
I believe if you’re comfortable, you’re not doing enough. Success comes with great discomfort at first and when you achieve…that is your comfort.
What’s something that has changed your life?
I would say the thing that made the most significant difference in my life was moving to Australia. I think it shaped the person I grew to be, it shaped who I am, it gave me a lot of opportunities that I’d probably never had had back home. So something that has changed my life was was coming here. Pretty much a land of opportunities right here!
What’s your best advice to give to other people?
I think the most important thing that I’ve learnt this year, and the end of last year also is, shifting your mindset. That’s something I very recently learnt. Always learn to shift your mindset, adjust, learn to change your circle. Your circle is something that really defines you. The people that you hang around with, they are the ones that define you. They can make you negative or positive, driven or someone that is just there. And we don’t want to be someone that is just there.
What role do your beliefs play in your life?
I think that without my belief, I definitely wouldn’t have changed for the better.
Everything I do I think about whether it’s acceptable or not. I think it plays a huge role when people see you and you’re different, some people like it and some people don’t, it’s the best part when you shock people, when they say ‘wow you’re actually the same like all of us, you just look different’. I think my belief I hold it dear to my heart, and it shaped me to be someone who is really centered and humble and it really helps me.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
In the end we’re all humans, we all bleed red, we live like everyone else, we eat 3-5 meals a day, we struggle with things, we go through a lot of things, just like everyone else we have good times and bad times. Keep in mind you can’t judge individuals based on a group of people. Get to know the person before you judge them.