Prior to entering USF nearly two years ago, I would have never imagined to be in the position at where I stand today. I never thought that I would one day be leading an organization in the role of a president and helping change the lives of so many people. I never thought that I would be partaking in the planning of such large- scale events that host hundreds of people. I never thought that I would be able talk about the great change my class has attempted to make and to voice my views on the problems of this world through a radio station. I never thought any of my efforts would make a difference, but now I see that they can.
This past Monday, our class was given the opportunity to go to a radio show to explain how this class has impacted us so far and our perception of the class itself. The entire time we were waiting, I hoped that they would not have enough mics for all the students. I was counting on being fortunate enough to escape the wrath of the radio host and not have to speak! I attempted to hide and avoid any eye contact, but the more I tried to stray away from being a part of the piece, the more suspicious I became. Eventually, I was one of the two students called upon to speak.
Being behind a mic was just as nerve-wracking as I assume it would be to be on TV. This was a very new and unfamiliar experience to me, but for some odd reason, I became quite comfortable once I began speaking. If I was placed in the same situation a year ago, I would have been panicking and stuttering my way through the interview. As president of the USF Muslim Students’ Association, I was forced into situations that required me to speak at events in front of large groups of people I did not know. However, it did help me improve my public speaking skills and remove a lot of the anxiety I used to have. As soon as the host started to ask her first question, the answers began formulating in my head immediately. For the first time in my life, I was able to answer confidently about how I felt. Maybe it was my passion for this project or maybe it was just the eye-opening experiences I have been through this past year, either way it felt good to proudly explain how amazing this project really is.
As the interview progressed, I began to realize more and more why this project meant so much to me. Being born and living in Pakistan for a while introduced me to the disparity between the upper class and the lower class. I was able to understand the difficulties these children were faced with as they were similar to what I have seen children in Pakistan face.
Many of you reading this already know about our project and if you have not gotten the opportunity to read the rest of our blogs, I definitely recommend giving it a shot. This class has dramatically impacted us all in a great way. It has not only given us the chance to help so many people through our everyday activities such as social networking through Facebook or Twitter, but it has also given us the advantage to reflect on our accomplishments. We are able to evaluate ourselves to see how much we need to be doing to help the rest of the world and how much the students of Afghanistan need our help. All it takes is two days lunch money (or one if you’re a heavy eater like myself) to ship one box to Afghanistan ($12.95). Just by donating a notebook you only used four pages out of, which is probably sitting in your book shelf collecting dust, can make the world of a difference to the life of one Afghan child. As Russel Peters would say, “Be a Man. Do the right thing!” Pass on some items you don’t use to these children, or get them some new ones if you’re feeling generous!
These small acts that we do might be extremely great to the people that we are trying to impact! I never would have guessed I would be blessed with the opportunity to be where I am today, participating in numerous drives with a revitalized zeal. This lifestyle has now become a part of me and is something I don’t think I could ever give up. As cliche as it might sound, helping others helps you, making me reflect on a single point for the future: Is the career that I hope to achieve in the future just so I can say I am successful and provide for my family, or is it for me to use these skills to benefit others?