By: Fatema Mazher, J-1 High School Program participant and Youth Ambassador
Studied in: Faribault, Minnesota as a YES scholarship recipient
Home country: Pakistan
There are instances in life that occur without one’s intention for them to happen. During my exchange year in the U.S. as a J-1 student, I learned of the 2017 Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference. The conference would be held in Chicago, where only eight Greenheart alumni applicants would be granted the opportunity to attend. Keeping the thin chances in mind, I applied with zero expectations, but the universe must have been in my favor.
The conference was an experience that broadened my outlook, helping me to realize my purpose: I was born to be a global leader. This realization dawned on me during a workshop our mentors were conducting. The goal of the session was to work in our assigned groups and come up with an idea for a practical service project.
In my group I had friends from Hawaii, Ukraine, and Italy, and the four of us had identified our distinct talents. We shared the idea that education was a basic necessity in life, and we wanted to find a way to make it available to those who could not afford it.
We divided the project into sub-categories that would focus on four different aspects. One group member, who was passionate about politics and had parliamentary connections, was put in charge of advocacy for the project. Another, who was smart with computers and had a great internet following, became our social media specialist. The third member loved to teach and had unique ideas for newer modes of educating, and as a result was placed in charge of recruiting teachers and approaching institutions for their support. For my outspokenness and experience with diplomacy workshops, I was given responsibility over finance. I would be approaching sponsors and conducting fundraisers.
The activity highlighted how important it was for each person to know their purpose. When all the members successfully played their parts, they would come together on a path for a much bigger purpose. We named our project EduGlobe for its prospect of making education an accessible resource all over the world.
Even though the Jr. GGLC was only as long as a weekend, I don’t think I could sum it up in a few words. To do that would be an injustice, because there was so much we took from it– maybe even different gains for each student. However, there was one common change that every student agrees they developed in themselves: The revelation of having a purpose, the idea that each one of us has a calling we need to be true to.
On a personal note, I can tell you that I have been asked countless times in my life about what I want to become when I grow up. The Jr. GGLC taught me that I do not have to wait and grow up to become something. I have a purpose, and it is to make my present existence productive so that I can contribute to bringing about even the smallest of changes in our global community.
Enjoy the experience of a lifetime studying in the U.S. with Greenheart’s J-1 High School Program.