You learn a great deal about life by simply being the older child in your family, especially being a girl. You learn to choose your battles because you know you won't win all of them. It's choosing the battles in my life that I wish I had help in growing up. It's precisely the reason why we started the WISE Mentorship Program: to help empower you to choose your battles and fight them.
My first battle was during the college admission process. I won't go into the details of my typical Muslim girl's struggle to leave home for college, because it wasn't a battle I won in the first round. Being the first child of immigrant parents means you're the experimental child, which usually leads you to abiding to your family's wishes. By no means do I have any regrets about listening to my parents when they told me to accept my offer to an accelerated medical program. But by the end of the semester I not only hated the program, but had lost the confidence and motivation I had come in with. I lost the creative side of myself I had just begun to discover in high school. The idea that I could never study abroad or dorm or have the full 4 year college experience I had always wanted, daunted me. So that is when I fought my second battle, but really it wasn't much of a battle. I told my parents I was leaving the program and called up Mount Holyoke College and told them I was coming. My parents accepted it in a heartbeat, knowing full well I had done my part in their aspirations for me.
Life presented me with a second opportunity to choose my path and I chose what I thought was in my best interest. I rekindled my passion for sleep research, traveled throughout Europe and the UK and sought incredible opportunities in new cities.
Looking back at my freshmen year of college, I really wish I had a mentor.The stress of transitioning to a new school in the middle of the year and whether I made the right choice could have been relieved had I had someone to talk to, educate and evaluate my options. The purpose of the WISE Mentorship Program is to give high school girls with that opportunity: to talk with a mentor, become educated about their choices and seek help in evaluating their choices.
Join the WISE Movement Today!
- Nishath Rahman, WISE Mentorship Program Director