“Find Yourself and Be That” were words once spoken by my favorite teacher, Mr Sreepaul. I was eleven at that time and I could not fully understand their meaning then. Years later, his wise words resonated so deeply with me.
I got to share my message with all of you when Dear World, an interacting and award-winning project that connects people through pictures in a very unique message-on-skin style, came to Indiana University last week. I was invited to take part in their VIP photoshoot last Wednesday and I am more than happy to be part of this initiative.
As the co-editor and blogger for the SPH Career Services Office’s blog, all my posts, so far, have been really career-focused. Today, I get to write a piece which is very personal. I leave it up to you to decide on what this article means to you.
The reason I chose to write those words on my arms during Dear World photo shoot is because those words truly signify the current state of my mind and how I perceive my life right now. In finding myself, I learned life-changing lessons:
The Value of Hard Work
I strongly believe in the fact that had I been born rich or in a privileged society, I would not have been able to strive in being the best version of myself. I had and still have the best role models: my parents. Growing up, I had witnessed my parents doing two or even three jobs to ensure my siblings’ and my needs were catered for. One of the things I learned early in life was that hard work is a must to progress. For financial reasons and due to family obligations, my parents were unable to attain their desired educational level, but they made sure their kids got the best education.
I was not born smart and intelligent, and I worked for that. I knew that my parents’ sheer hard work should not go wasted and I made sure to make the most out of any educational opportunity which came my way. Doing my PhD is one of my long-cherished goals and I feel extremely blessed to be able to do that. Education is one of the best gifts to yourself and do not deprive yourself of this essential component of life. Both formal and informal education are needed to shape your thoughts, ideals and values in life. I am grateful I learned so much at school, but the best knowledge I got was from other sources: family, friends, teachers, colleagues, books and much more. One such person whom I have no words to describe her importance in my life is my advisor, Dr. Susan E. Middlestadt. She has been instrumental in shaping me as a researcher and professional, and … for life! If it had not been for her, I would not have crossed oceans to do my Ph.D.
Stand for yourself and for what is Right
Sometimes, it is easier to keep quiet and to mold into the rest, rather than standing for what you are and for what you believe in. I cannot count how many times it got me into trouble for doing what is right to do. One of the incidents which comes to my mind right now is being downgraded in college. All because I made it clear to a particular professor that it was not right to harass his students. It sure cost me not getting a “distinction” for my degree, but I have not regretted till now for doing it. It took me years to be mentally strong and be assertive though. When I was in high school, I was very much bullied by other girls. There were times when I wished I could just go back home and hide myself. How does an adolescent react to name calling, daily insults, mental harassment, seeing dirty footprints on your bag every day? Years later, when I came face to face with one of my bullies, she could not look at me in the eyes. Doing wrong to others and hurting other people has never done you good.
Build up Meaningful Connections
In my previous blog articles, I have often stressed on the importance of making useful network connections for your career. How about nurturing already available connections which brighten up your life? No matter where you land up in life or how busy you get, it is vital that you nurture your relationships and connect to other people. Make time for your family, friends and loved ones, and share some of your kindness and love to others. When the going gets tough in life, the presence of my loved ones pulls me through.
I believe in hard work, courage, kindness and determination. These are the values which I live by in both my personal and professional life. These words define me and this is where I found myself.