First off… wow.
I woke up this morning not expecting any eye opening experiences or events that could possibly make me realize more why I want to be a Medical Missionary and why I wanted to be a part of the Global Engagement Fellowship in the first place- but just that happened.
One of my roommates the other night told me how her sorority was hosting a lecture with Shizah Shahid, one of the founders and CEO of the Malala Fund. Of course I was dumbfounded. How cool is that? Someone so famous and so significant in the movement for equal rights of all people was coming to Norman, Oklahoma?!!
Yes, I wanted to go, but I had NO idea how truly life-changing this talk would be.
I walked in not expecting anything significant, but as soon as Shizah Shahid began to speak, I was drawn in. It was so weird to hear about her activism in her community and how it began at such a young age. It was like seeing myself. I know my heart belongs to volunteering and serving others, and just to hear someone else do the same, and see the results made me that much more confident that this is the road that I want to embark on.
Although I really couldn’t get any pictures of the event because it was a lecture and afterwards I was too nervous to ask someone as cool as Shizah Shahid to take a picture, I really wish I had, because she has absolutely NO idea how much she impacted a normal girl from Houston, Texas.
This is Malala and Shizah Shahid!!
Something that Shizah talked about that stuck with me was that although she volunteered for others and truly did devote her time to others, she never would have understood how bad things were for woman in Pakistan if she had not looked beyond herself. WHOA. Right?? I just couldn’t believe how dumb I was before this. I grew up in an upper-middle class home, went to amazing schools, had nice things, go to a nice college. All of these things are what blinds not only myself, but all of us from realizing that we’re focusing on the wrong things. There are people out there whose voices aren’t heard- and nothing breaks my heart more than that. I yearn to let those voices be heard, for people to help.
I believe being a part of GEF is my first time to broadening my mind. Shizah also said “to broaden the perspective of the world and find out what we’re supposed to do in the world.” EACH OF US HAS A PURPOSE. And with Shizah’s talk, I believe my purpose has been solidified. I want to serve orphans and let them know how loved they are. Teach them. EVERYONE, even those who might not know it, DESERVES LOVE. Everyone deserves to know that they have been put on this Earth for a reason beyond their own doing.
In Shizah’s lecture, she quoted Margaret Mead who said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Goosebumps. She then went on to tell the story of Malala, and if y’all don’t know what I am talking about… LOOK IT UP!! (I attached the link to the movie trailer about Malala!)
Shizah’s lecture was truly empowering. She spoke of something called Ikigai, which means “reason for being.” (This is the only picture that I got from the lecture… I apologize for the terrible quality)
But she spoke of how in one’s life, no one ever has a full idea of what they’re doing. In this world, people are in corporate positions or working in banks, making money. But these people are not truly happy. Yes, these jobs are important, but are they meaningful? I could not believe my ears. I have been having such a hard time lately as I question “will the life I want to have allow me to provide for a family or even provide for myself?” Yes, it is nice to have a job that pays the bills, but to be happy is so much more important- and Shizah showed me that. She asked us, “how do we create a career that’s meaningful, that has adventure that allows us to learn and grow, but also deal with the practicalities of paying the bills?” I mean, I’m only 18 so I cannot really answer that, and I guarantee that most people can’t. But, it provides such great insight into the fears that I am feeling at this moment.
Shizah brought a sense of comfort to me in that what I want to do is so amazing. She told us that if you want to make change, you have to start where you live and where you will remain for awhile. So, that means Norman is the current target, and for some reason that scares me more traveling all the way to Africa to serve orphans. But, she opened my eyes and made me realize that this is where the journey begins, and I truly cannot wait!