As a sixteen year old girl living in the United States, I was raised in a very difficult society; a society that has been destroyed over the past thirteen years by only conflicts and wars. I was raised by parents whose hearts were as hard as rocks because of wars; their biggest fear was me being not able to go to school, me being afraid more than feared. I thought when I get out of Iraq, I will just worry about my education, friends and family, but that wasn’t true.
We moved to Syria thinking that we will have a “good life”, that I will continue my education in peace and live a normal life like any other child in this world, but I was wrong. In sixth grade, Syrian civil war started bringing all the terror, and violence with it. My school would always close and reopen because of the dangerous situation in my area, ISIS ( Islamic state in Iraq and Syria ) wrote inside my school threatening to kill us if the school didn’t close. I always thought every conflict is about two sides fighting against each other, but the truth was the real victims were children because our only fault was being innocent.
My father used to tell me your only weapon is education which reminds me of Malala. One day I came home from school from the bomb that ISIS had put near my school, tears were in my eyes, and I directly ran kneeled on my knees and begged my dad to stop me from going to school. I was very afraid of what way will I be killed or tortured, I never thought it will get to the point where I don’t want to go to school.
In 2013 me and my mother got accepted into coming into the united states, but unfortunately my father and my brother are still in Syria. I struggled a lot through my journey here in middle, and high school; not knowing how to make a sentence, how to pronounce words. I still remember in eighth grade when I was in history class trying to participate by reading something and everyone in my class started giggling and laughing at me and at my pronunciation. I would cry every night because I didn’t know any English. But I learned that hard work pays off; I got accepted in SEED program in department of chemistry and biochemistry at duquesne university. I work as a researcher on the serotonin transporter protein. The key impact of my research is that elucidation of SERT’s mechanism of action will aid in the development of efficient antidepressants with less side effects. In my research we are trying to understand the structure of this protein so we can develop better medications for people who suffer from depression and anxiety. If my father was here I would hug him so tight and tell him about the little things that I’ve accomplished here and the opportunities that I have found I will tell him that my dream is helping children who are in Iraq and Syria and make their number one priority education and not about surviving.
Through my journey in Iraq and Syria I learned that the beautiful and the innocent have no enemy but time. And that was my main enemy, time. Time reveals the good things and the bad things, and for me time revealed that colorful and beautiful things can turn into black and ugly things. For example, both of my countries before war they were full of beautiful things; of course not perfect but good enough to call a country that is livable. After a period of time beautiful things tend to fade away and one of them was my country.
Growing up I realized that I never counted the blessing that I have, that means I wasn’t thankful as much as I should be; when God sees that a person is not thankful for what they have then the blessings that you have are going to be taken away. Trust me I learned it the hard way. Due to the war in Syria, there are 4 million children that are out of school, and that’s when I realized education has to do with everything.