Don’t Give Up on Your Journey… Mine was Pretty Wierd and Still is!
I’m sitting in front of a computer at Uni, trying to sort this paper out. What type of lung cancer am I investigating? How many mg/ml/ul/% of tumour/treatments/contrast agents will I use/screen/inject into my animal model? What does my timeline look like for the project…? Will I get any of this done in time?
It seems all trivial to me sometimes, like I’m doing this to prove something to myself because of my high standards. Well, here’s the thing about me… I’m a dreamer! Possibly the biggest in the world. I want to do more in my lifetime than everyone combined. And it probably won’t happen… You see how I say ‘probably’!?
Because somewhere really close to the apex of my cardiac muscle I know I will do it! At least 75%. If not all!
My list is extensive and after every birthday I really ask myself what I’ve done this year. What have I achieved? Am I any closer to my goals? It drives me crazy when I haven’t done enough and now almost everyone I know, knows that I really don’ look forward to my birthday. They just don’t understand why.
My mum always narrates the story about my 14th birthday. I was about to turn 14 and was running around in my PJ shorts, with the longest legs (I had just gone through a growth spurt), screaming ‘I’m gonna be FOURTEEN’ at the top of my lungs like some sort of apocalypse was about to happen.
For me, it felt that way though.
You see, when I was 10, I made a plan that I would become a novelist at age 12 and then it didn’t happen so I said 14. But the book I was writing, well, let’s just say it was a dream.
I was just Sahra from the block, the easily bruised, always on her bike girl, marble ex-champion (some kids get good when you help them man).
The girl with the excellent creative writing skills, who’d be invited to events as her school’s best tongue, but I wouldn’t be signing any major book deals. I just didn’t know how it was done and hustling my teachers didn’t seem to be working as well as I’d liked. So, at 14 I had no book, no deal and was absolutely devastated.
I sort of stopped writing legitimately after that, and only wrote small stories or little bits of poems on word whenever I was feeling the urge to write. I mean the keyboard is like my piano. If you type real fast and move your hands from your wrists it’s really like your playing and it feels like your making magic.
Because telling stories is Magic
After that I got into a multitude of hobbies, I’m a serial hobbyist if ever there was one! Basketball, racing, scuba diving, Medicine, tennis, surfing, film, coding, everything you can think of I’d start it next week!
I got into cars real bad, like a super petrol head. I knew every car from just its tail lights and tried to learn the skill of identifying them from the sounds of the engine. Every new model of every make, I was on it, specs and all!
Around that same age I was really, into science and medicine, still am.
I wanted to legit win the Nobel prize for finding the cure for cancer, and gave myself until 17 to do it! I also wanted to beat Michael Schumacher at the 2012 Formula One races. Again with the unrealistic goals. But they kept me on my feet-all the time and made me really try and learn.
At 15 I started filling in my details to receive car brochures and I’d put my title down as ‘Dr’ or ‘Prof’ and I’d get a great big, catalogue in the mail, with ‘Dr Sahra ’ or ‘Prof Sahra’ written on the front! It always felt like I was actually getting a delivery for a brand new Range Rover Sport with a V8 Supercharged engine and black 21" Alloy wheels- did I mention its body was 101% carbon fibre!? Basically, the excitement and everything never got old!
No matter how many brochures I got, I felt like I’d done something great and was one step closer to becoming a great scientist/race car driver/mechanic! It doesn’t even seem funny to me just yet because at 22 I still do some similarly crazy things!
I remember one morning when I was sent a brochure and was sitting on the stairs near the front door, just staring at it. I felt so lucky, like I was really really lucky, that I knew what I wanted to do and found some thing(s) I was so passionate about. I’d to the kitchen for breakfast and always discuss the new cars and my “progress” on my cancer research- from high school books (I thought it was really big).
My mum laughed just then and said ‘stop filling this stuff out there gonna stop sending when they find out where we live- there aren’t any doctors living in estates’ I laughed and said I’d be the first one but it always struck a chord with me!
That’s kinda when all the social entrepreneurship and volunteering hit me!
Why couldn’t a ‘Dr’ live in my area? So what, I lived on an estate and shared a toddlers bunk bed in a box room with 4 little sisters at 15…? I wasn’t entitled to be addressed a certain way because of my address?
Boy, Ima do what I want when and where I want. I grew up with great people and we were happy! You could probably say I was the happiest kid you knew and my parents were my idols.
Oh boy, it was like round 45 of find your passion. I wasn’t even tired of switching every time, I’d just find something good to do and not give up on it!
So I started volunteering… a lot! In my final year of university I was volunteering at 3 different places and holding down 2 part time jobs, one was as a learning achievement mentor for uni students (super proud of that one!).
I was also handing in my thesis (which my research supervisor really wanted to publish!), finished Magna Cum Laude in my cohort and got a scholarship to the Cancer institute, that’s a front row seat bruh! And guess what!? My ‘(e)state’ kinda helped me with that! You could say some lego blocks just click!
I mean if I can do it with this disorganised, full, unfocused brain so can you!
I’ve really learnt a lot from my behavior as a serial hobbyist and having the attention span of a Dory. For one my learning capacity is pretty good just because I’ve trained my grey blob of matter to take in a lot of varying concepts. It’s taught me that I can actually do anything I want and you don’t have to be a certain person to do a specific thing.
I’ve done things like learn a language fluently in a year at age 13 just because my parents threw us in a public school in the remotest part of a foreign country.
For the first 6 months, I was reliant on body language and word sounds as well as Good Ol’ English’s stolen words to understand what was happening. After that I set a goal to become a hyperpolyglot… yh again, I understand and can converse in most languages but only fluent in 3 & 3/4's…
Got my provisional driving licence as soon as I was allowed, at 16 and passed my driving test at 17 (legal age to be behind the wheel in the UK) just because I was trying to meet my ‘2012 beat Schumacher at @F1’ deadline, which never was, but you know… I got my licence so I can probably rent a car and drag race with my bros this summer if I wanted to ;P.
I tried to always be at the top of my game so I could get into Medicine but instead got into Sciences and am probably the luckiest person ever!
I’m involved in everything, as my professor said ‘You’ve got your toes in 50 different buckets!’ And I don’t plan on taking them out… What with all the deadlines I’ve set myself… Not now bro!
In entrepreneurship, I failed on a few accelerators and startup programmes- been told ‘I’m less likely to ever start anything and become a CEO because I’m more of a quiet, strategic thinker who’d suit being the behind the scenes brains of the operation!’.
But I’m still here, because in the game of entrepreneurship you have an unlimited number of lives! It only stops when you do!
And I’ve done too many things that never worked out and exhausted some but not all methods- So I try start my own ventures and chase people with my ‘killer’ ideas all the time! You know 2017’s @Forbes 30 Under 30 list is around the corner so Google Non profits better fund some of these ventures fam! ;P
And my favourite part-I’m still learning- Everything!
I get to work on cancer at the 4th best university in the world-in one of the world’s best cancer institutes and still have a chance to maybe Coin that Nobel — Pun intended- And no-one knows what I had to do to get there, or about where I’ve lived or even live now!
Coz those are my bloopers- and bloopers are always fun hiccups- I certainly look forward to them in all the Jackie Chan movies-and I’d say mine are pretty good!
But the thing is, NEVER give up on what you want to do! Today is a good time, not when you retire!
Always think highly of yourself!
Because if you don’t honour yourself it’s really easy to break when someone says ‘why, you even trying!
If I thought about no Docs in my area as being a negative on my chances I would have never said, ‘Oh I’m going to become a scientist, let’s see what ya’ll think bout dat!’
So yh, you never know, I might just be trying for that PhD and then moving back to my estate! Coz those were my ends!
P.S. I’m kinda writing this as motivation to myself because I have to hand in this essay in a few days and it looks dire… so I ain’t even boasting… Just tryna remember the good times and inspire you to stay crazy!