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The train started to move. My heart began to beat fast. I felt afraid, I do not know what I am facing moving from city to city, but all I know is that I am chasing my own decision and dream. Last year, I decided to quit my major in my junior year of Faculty of Law in Alexandria, to be a new student in the Faculty of Arts, Public Relations Department, at Aswan university.
Before having the idea of changing my major, I participated as a member of the Public Relations Committee at the “Model organization of Islamic Cooperation” (MOIC). During that time, I started to adopt new skills such as; influencing others, empowering young leaders, making deals, and taking serious decisions. The following year, I became the chief of the Public Relations committee during this Model.
I started to give my team training for one month about how to write a proposal, make deals, and how to use tools as SWOT analysis. By the end of the Model, I got deeply into my leadership skills, and here where I discovered my passion and which field I am actually talented in. For that, I have taken the risk and switched my major to Public Relations.
In my first year as a new student, I started to face some challenges because of the cultural differences, but I was able to get over them fast since I was used to being around a diverse atmosphere most of the time.
There was once I volunteered to help the Syrian refugees who moved from Syria to Egypt. Hence, this experience gave me the strength to be a person who can adapt to different mindsets quickly and be open to the concept of diversity. Therefore, in a short time, I was able to build networks with my colleagues and roommates. In addition, I participated in different club activities at the university such as; the Developer students club as a Public Relations member. In consequence, my participation in different clubs helped me to know more about the culture in Aswan. By the end of the year, the final results of college came out, I was ranked as the 4th of class. I was so proud of myself for taking this risk from the beginning, not only for my academic grades but also for my ability to adapt to any diverse community and atmosphere quickly.
Being part of the UGRAD will help me to increase my self-development in many aspects as educational and communications skills through making connections with the professors and colleagues. I am in search of the empowerment the UGRAD program has to offer, the treasures of knowledge, and the possibility to improve my skills in Public Relation. Additionally, through my participation, I will have the chance to know more about different cultures and increase my leadership ability while communicating. On the other side, being an (Exchange student) from a totally different background will also give me a chance to add a different perspective during the program. I plan when I return back to my country after I would be enriched with such knowledge I will participate in an undergraduate research program in Public Relation with Egypt Scholars Inc. Also, I would stand beside my colleagues to pass my knowledge and experience with them when I was at the UGRAD program.
In 2014, my life began to take a different phase. I started to be an active person in the community after being a shy and antisocial person and finally believed in the social impacts.
Hence, I participated in many civil work activities such as; the Stock Market Simulation project and the Egyptian Diplomatic Project. During that time, I worked on my personal development to improve my personality, skills and expanded my networks. Based on that, I took a big step by applying to a scholarship called the “Access pipeline program”. While I was planning for my future, something unexpected happened. One day, I felt something wrong with the shape of my breast. I started to do concentric circles around my both breasts and I found a small hard lump that was like a ball which was very scary. The following day, I went to the doctor for a checkup and after a couple of days, the results showed that I have a “Complex Fibroadenoma” type of non-cancerous tumor. During that time, I did an operation to remove the tumor, but it returned again. My mother warned me that I should not let anyone know about my illness. I was struggling and felt ashamed. I have started withdrawing from many volunteer activities and taking many steps back from my social life and started to disappear from all my circles.
After two years, the tumor was growing crazy with acute pain and I couldn’t take my breath because my breast became so heavy. I did a biopsy and the results came out, the doctor told me that I have a slight risk of developing breast cancer and I may need a second operation. I had no idea from the beginning about my illness, which caused me lots of emotional traumas. I decided to read more about benign breast conditions, cancer tumors, and how to get over it.
Slowly, I started to accept this tumor and learn more about my body, additionally, never letting my fears stop me from reaching what I want. In addition, I decided to raise awareness among other women especially because I never found any support during my trauma, so I wanted to be the one who can support other women in many shapes. I realized that acceptance, understanding, and support were some strategies to overcome this struggle.
Lately, I got an internship in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). During the internship, I started to speak up with my female colleagues about the common women’s health issues as breast tumor conditions, to help them to be aware of their health issues especially as a woman and how to examine themselves by doing concentric circles. A day later, one of my colleagues told me that she found out that she has breast cancer after doing the self-checkup which I encouraged her to see a doctor. I comforted her and tried to be optimistic even though I know how hard it is, but I felt happier because I never thought that sharing my experience could be a reason to save someone’s life. From that moment, I believed that helping others is what makes us human beings and gave us a satisfying feeling. My personality was affected a lot after that tumor.
Having a struggle with physical health, not always a bad thing, but It taught me to have more confidence and patience. Also, I learned to take things simply, feel for others, understand their pain and appreciate everything we have in life.
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