Med school

In 5 Years Time

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Not interesting, just another storytelling about my life.

I graduated high school at the age of 15, went to the Philippines, studied in a new place with a language I’ve never heard of, lived alone in an apartment at the age of 16, and took a course I was not sure of in a very well known university.

In those 2 years time, I learned a lot about being independent which is too different from the life I used to growing up. I was a very dependent child. I couldn’t wash my own clothes, prepare a good meal and even clean my own room. I was very competitive when I was in high school so my thoughts were just focused on studying. My relatives described me as “the kid who studies even when watching TV” Sometimes I even brought notes with me when we travel. That was just what I knew, to study (and to eat).

At senior year, just like any Filipino kid in Saudi, I also wanted to go in the Philippines to pursue my studies and to discover more about life. At first, my family didn’t want me to go because I’d be alone, I’d be departed from them and that I’m a girl. But, just like any parents they also want the good for their children and my parents have their trust in me. So, I was sent to the Philippines. Although it was so hard for me to leave, I was also excited of the life I’d been curious about.

When I arrived, I enrolled right away. I got a high score in the entrance exam which made me qualified to take BS Biology. It was a huge university. Few weeks after, I lost weight traveling from one room to another (and that was a good thing). I felt really glad because everything seemed to be like a dream. New university, new experiences, new place, new friends, and new life. That’s too exciting for a 15 year old right? Everything seemed to be alright. I enjoyed being a Biology student because everything was my first, but later at the end of the day I was so doubtful. Am I sure with what I’m doing?

Twice a year I go back to Saudi for vacation, and every time I was departing from my family to go back to the Philippines was heartbreaking. Of course because I’d miss them, but the other thing is… because I’m not anymore happy with the reason why I’m leaving them. I knew that I didn’t want Biology anymore as the field I want to see myself grow up with. I actually didn’t want it at the first place, I just thought I do.

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My mistake was that, I didn’t tell them right away when I was first year. I even let another year to pass by. I was so scared because I saw them being so happy for me. So I pretended that I am doing well in Biology. But pretensions can’t last long, and pretensions hurt. So during my 4th vacation back to Saudi, that was the end of my 2nd year in Biology, I told them the truth that I don’t want to continue the Biology program. I couldn’t take anymore to be back in the Philippines fooling myself and my family. My mom was my strength, she keeps on motivating me and encouraging me to follow the path I really want for myself. She was the one who was telling me to tell dad sooner. So, I did. I saw the sadness in my dad’s face, but I didn’t expect that he would still support me 101%, give me another chance, and show me that everything is going to be alright.

What I only knew was that, I didn’t want Biology anymore. But, I didn’t know what I want. So, I stayed more than a year in Saudi finding myself. I insisted to enroll to a Business School in Jeddah. Although the process was so difficult for a non-Arab to enroll in a university for college, my family supported me. After a semester, I was expelled because of some disqualifications in my documents. As a young girl, those kinds of events were discouraging and failures. Seeing my friends doing good in college, and about to graduate, while I’m undecided of what I want and even when I attempted, I failed. I felt really sad. Several times I lost hope.

My parents didn’t leave me, although I was very disappointed with myself, they keep on encouraging me to find me. They keep on pulling me closer to the Almighty and keep on telling me that everything happens is by His will, and that He never plans something that is bad for us. Truly, we see some things as bad only because we don’t know yet the reasons behind those. My journey back to Allah (SWT) was one of the great reasons why those happened. Truly, He tests us so we turn back to Him. One day, I just discovered what I really wanted. And right away, my family supported me.

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I came back to the Philippines a year ago and took Nutrition and Dietetics. The discovery of how and why I chose this field was another long boring story. But, through prayers I was able to find myself. I came back stronger, (maybe) wiser, more faithful and optimistic. My past experiences made me see life positively and appreciate adversity.

In 5 years time, almost all my batch mates in high school already graduated in college and are graduating this coming month, while I still have a long way to take to make it. But, it’s all right.  My college journey might be different, and longer than the usual but it is what made it unique.  I appreciate every bit of it, both the joyful moments and difficulties.

The reason why I’m encouraging everyone to choose the field they really want for themselves and not let other people tell them what they should be, because if you really love what you do… you’ll never feel like giving up. Every adversity you will face throughout your journey will just make you stronger. Don’t waste time to something that doesn’t make you happy and that won’t make you grow.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

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