Pain I endured, things I learned, future I expect…

A milestone showing distance from my village, Ahmed Pur Sial

I belong to Ahmed Pur Sial, a village 90 Km away from district Jhang. Till my 7th class, I was nothing more than an ordinary shy guy without any social life, an average grader without any educational aspiration and a disobedient son scorned by everyone in the family and relatives. Considering that situation and due to scarcity of good school in my area, I was sent to a boarding school in district Muzaffargarh 90 Km away from my hometown.

Life in boarding school:

I was 13 year old in my Middle Standard 2007 when it all started and spent 5 years of my teenage life there. During my boarding life, we were forced to get up at 5:00 in the morning, study whole day with two small breaks for lunch and dinner and sleep at 11:00 at night. While other teenagers were enjoying the felicity of new technology of the time, the mobile phones, I was struggling in queues to get some food in morning which I failed often too. While others used to worry about new video games, I was worrying about getting my CHAPPALS stolen from outside of the class. After studying whole days and sleeping in same room at nights, we were allowed to go to home for only 3 days at the end of each month.

Class room, where we used to study whole day and sleep at night

For continuous 5 years, we had been provided with a single consistent dish, CHANNY in breakfast at 5:00 in the morning and a single consistent dish, DAAL in dinner. During winters, these CHANNY and DAAL would get frozen to the extent that they wouldn’t come off even if you turn the bowl upside down. With mobile phones and outside visits being prohibited, we didn’t have slightest idea what was happening to our family or the world outside unless someone from family happened to pay a surprise visit. For those five years, I missed my each family gathering, each wedding ceremony and each funereal.

Students standing in queue to get food

What I learned?

However, this was the time when I emerged as an extremely hardworking student, adaptable to different challenges and very passionate to improve his condition. Environment there was very conducive for studying and that was the only thing that I did. Resultantly, I achieved very good marks in my intermediate, matriculation and middle examinations and received many merit scholarship from BISE D. G. Khan and Government of Punjab. Also, I was the only student from my batch of 300+ students to secure admission in prestigious university like NUST.

How I got into NUST?

I was still in the boarding school when NUST started receiving admission applications. During my 3 day holidays at the end of month, I came to home and found out that application process was completely online. Considering my computer illiteracy and unavailability of internet in my area, I had to return to school without any hope of getting admission into NUST. Next day, I told this condition to a friend in school and he took my photo through a mobile phone, fled the school building at night and applied for the admission on my behalf in an internet café in Muzaffargarh city. Fortunately, I performed very well in the entry test and was selected among top 15% position holders. When it came to NUST admission fee, the bank in my area refused to deposit fee as they were not aware of online procedure NUST had. I had to travel all the way to Muzaffargarh, 90 Km from my home, to deposit the fee.

What I learned?

This helped me realize the areas I need to improve on for my personal growth. Very obvious of them was computer literacy and this was exactly what I started to work on from very first day in NUST. This also encouraged me to do something for the betterment of education sector in my hometown because I don’t want a other students to face the problems I’ve been through. For this, I started improving myself as a person to equip with skills required to bring positive change and I still have a long way to go.

Traveling to university:

A scene of my usual journey to NUST

After coming to NUST, I had to face extreme financial crisis. The transport from my hometown to Islamabad was very difficult. At end of public holidays, while returning to NUST, I had to keep standing for whole 9 hours journey at night as we don’t have any other bus on that route.

What I learned?

Making through these difficulties made me very resilient to travelling. I roamed over most of Pakistan, enjoyed every bit of it and learned a lot during whole process. My resilience helped me overlook the hundreds of small problems that we might face each day and life started feeling incredibly easy to me.

Life after graduation:

It’s been a year that I’ve graduated and haven’t secured any job so far. I’ve applied to hundreds of companies and failed 15 final job interviews so far. Meanwhile, I joined Amal Career Fellowship to improve myself as a person for which I had to stay in Lahore for 3 months. Being unemployed for a year, it’s been extremely difficult for me to finance my stay, food and fellowship fee simultaneously. I have had situations with 30 rupees in my pocket as a whole without knowing where the next meal would be coming from. I’ve had situation of traveling with empty pockets by taking lifts and walking kilometers on foot, having heat strokes in scorching summer and without any idea where would I be spending my night.

What I learned?

This is the time that helped me improve myself a lot. Facing so many failures helped me fight with fear, fear of losing. This time allowed me to do experiment with life and take risks. I traveled more than I ever did and met with hundreds of new people. I realized nothing valuable comes easy, you’ve to fight for it and I’m fighting.

What Future I expect?

Considering all what I’ve been through, I expect very extraordinary for myself. I really want to work for education in my area. My mother has been sole bearer of our all educational expenses and I want to help her with that. I want to uplift my family life style and for that I really need to be doing something to provide for my family. Eventually, I want to emerge as professional Mechanical Engineer bringing value to the company I work in and equip myself with skills required to make positive impact around wherever I am. I’m fighting and will keep fighting for it until I achieve it.