I had no idea how I would make this dream a reality, but I knew I had the talent and the determination to do so. I wanted to prove that despite what others thought of me (not skinny, parentless, etc.), there was more to me. I decided to start taking better care of my health and lost weight. I finished my education and graduated from university with a BA in English before I was 20. Like any other graduate, I began seeking employment (one thing that I pride myself on to this very day is the fact that I am self-made). I landed a number of jobs, but while I gave them my best, I still felt as if I was failing to reach my potential.
Still, I pressed on. A few years later I discovered the Fulbright Program, a scholarship exchange program for graduate students, and applied. When I was accepted and began my Master’s in the U.S., I was only 22 at the time. Not only did the experience bring me closer to my life goals, it made me more aware of what I am capable of, away from the negativity and anti-feminist society in which I grew up. I returned home after the program, never the same. Forever changed as a person, I was my own woman who realized that in order to get ahead to where I wanted to be, I had to be productive, energetic, positive, and utterly believe in myself. But upon my return home to Libya, I realized that it was no longer my home. Something was different; a revolution occurred. Many people changed, died, and lost their faith, which made me even more determined not to return to the old version of my life. During yet another search for employment, an opportunity literally landed in my lap that allowed me to help many kids in my country. I worked with them to reach for the stars.
In the midst of my personal success, I never forgot where I came from. I am truly grateful for my siblings who have continued to support me in becoming the person that I am today. Focusing on myself was not selfish. In fact, it should be a priority in order to see that there is always something good in this world. If we waste our time thinking about the negativity of our life’s situation, we will never experience a positive outcome. I believe that I am now on the path to something that is even greater, and I am certain that as long as I never lose faith in myself, it will only be a matter of time before good fortune becomes my reality again. We only live once, and I am prepared to reach for the stars. Looking back, I may not have become half the person I am, had I still been that spoiled little girl. Next up, my PhD.
Sawsan works in the education sector, has co-authored and published two linguistic papers, and when she is not glued at her computer working, she enjoys reading, writing, exploring and traveling. As life is a never-ending learning process, she is curious about different cultures, and her dream is to learn more languages, and to leave her imprint on the world. She obtained her Master's in Linguistics from Florida International University and aspires to become a professor one day. She currently lives in Libya.