Beyond Them 20s.

Riz Khan
Riz Khan
Jun 29 · 5 min read

So I’m writing this on the train back to Nottingham from Lincoln. A journey I undertook 5 days a week for the past year. And while I’ve begun writing this today I doubt I would ever be able to finish it in one sitting, much less finish it at all. There’s already a multitude of thoughts in the bucket of a brain that belongs to me and when you introduce the presence of an ending into it, well, then I could ramble around what I actually want to write for forever and, in Liam Neeson style, you will have to find me…and you will have to stop me.

I rarely ever do introspective writing so openly. I’m a poet. Poets bury themselves in the collective, right?! But this one is far too important for poetic ambiguity. It would be proud of me not to at least recognize and appreciate when life doesn’t give you lemons (is that how idioms work?). When life seems to be on your side. Gratitude is best voiced out loud and this is my humble undertaking to do just that.

The last year for me has been one that, as a recently-turned-21 year old, I will hold dearly. While not perfect (life is designed outside a perfect narrative), it’s been truly transformative.

When I accepted my placement at Cursor in June, 2018 (a day after my 20th birthday), I was wholly excited and equally unprepared. I missed my train on the second day. I hated walking (I still hate walking). Hell, all I knew about the word ‘Lincoln’ was Abraham Lincoln (and I barely know much about Abraham Lincoln either..). After the first week ended, I was already shattered. I stressed over how much I didn’t know, how much I felt like I really was an imposter sitting next to a brilliant team who would always know more than I ever could. I might have even counted the exact number of weeks that awaited until the end. I simply could not believe how much longer there was to go.

Then, days began to change themselves. The commute was never easy, especially in the two stuffed carriages that were consistently worsening. The four hours I got to spend awake at home were never enough for anything. Yet, I settled into the routine and, somehow, perhaps miraculously, grew to find firmer ground to stand on. (fun fact: I even bought my very own Poundland mug for the occasional tea in the office, until that mug transformed into a vessel for up to 4 coffees a day as the days piled on. So hip.)

The Cursor Team

Without a doubt, each member of the team was paramount to this growth I had never expected or envisioned. And while there were challenges, deadlines, and mistakes, there was also laughter, mentoring, and pancakes!

For the opportunity of spending my time in the company of such a team, was a highlight of my year and I thank each Pointer (that’s my proposed name for everyone who works at Cursor, think similar to Beliebers for Justin Bieber? It’s very much still awaiting team approval..) MOST sincerely. (Special mention to Nick for baking a helluva HTML+CSS birthday cake and Daniel for turning my last lunch in the office into a birthday team meal. That was a special kind of special).

like, how cool is this?

Besides my placement at Cursor, another thing that happened in the last year that changed my life: a crazy invitation to write and read out a poem, my poem, at New Adventures 2019, in front of the largest audience I have stood on a stage looking onto. I could pen novels fathoming exactly how precious that moment has become to me but instead you’ll only have to go by this blog post and believe that, even today, my mind is filled with awe and gratitude when I think back to it.


I’m now continuing writing this long after I originally started. It’s a Saturday and I’m contemplating what awaits ahead. See, opportunities are funny things. When you avail one, they still seem like a distant dream…until it’s suddenly time and you find yourself lifted in their whirlwind of an excitement but also sheer disbelief. That’s what I’m fortunate to be feeling today. For 2 reasons.

First of which happens to be the fact that I’ll officially be joining the splendid JH agency as a Design Intern for the summer. *yay* There’s so much I will undoubtedly learn and thus, I will be documenting this journey in my writing as best I can for you all (especially for those early in their Tech careers like myself. We’re all in this together ← yes, that’s a High School Musical reference thank you very much.)

The second reason warms my heart beyond measure.

July, 4th might be an important date for America but its become an even more important date to me. Women in Tech, Nottingham is a local community that has, without being dramatic, changed my life. To take up their stage on Thursday, July, 4th, and deliver my first full length talk, titled No Time to Spare: Spark, Tinder, Breeze, is akin to coming home after a long, tiring day. No matter how well the jokes in my talk land on the day or just how much I ramble, I know I will be in the company of my people. That, alone, is accolade enough for me.

So, yeah. That’s that on turning 21. I know I’m supposed to write something wholly pensive or concise now to wrap this up, beautifully. But that, even at 21, is a talent I’ve yet to tackle.

Perhaps, next year?

Riz Khan

Written by

Riz Khan

Junior Web Developer / Web Designer @ Cursor