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Maximum Potential

“What if the cure for cancer is trapped inside the mind of someone who can’t afford an education?”

I came across this quote late one night last week when someone shared it on Facebook. It was in the middle of the night, but it got me thinking right away. It hasn’t left my mind since.

Most of us live such a blessed life, that we often take for granted so many aspects of our lives. Our education? One of them. The roof over our head, the many clothes in our closets, and the plentiful food on the table being among some of the others.

So many people go through the twelve years of mandatory schooling years and learn not a single thing. It’s not because they aren’t smart enough, but rather: they just don’t take it the opportunity seriously.

People across the world? They would give anything for even an ounce of the education and knowledge we have been blessed to have the opportunity to take for granted.

Then we get to college level education. Enter a-crazy-amount-of-loans-and-debts. For what? A job. And if you are lucky enough to even get a job:  then, spend many years paying off aforementioned loans and debts.

But what about those who can’t afford the education? Even after grants and scholarships, the loan I had to take out for a bachelors degree? Scary. Not to mention the fact that I still haven’t found a full-time job to even start paying it off.

Makes you wonder how many brilliant  people out there who can’t afford the education aren’t living up to their fullest potential. Because let’s face it: in this economy and job market — you need at least a bachelors degree to even have a chance at landing a decent job.

So when I stumbled across the quote I began this post off with? That feeling of angst and annoyance and I don’t even know how to describe it… it’s been bothering me since.

There just HAS to be a cure for cancer, HIV, and other deadly diseases. Can you imagine IF the ONLY thing holding the cure back is that someone wasn’t given the chance? Ill health effects us all – whether it’s you suffering, or a loved one… it doesn’t discriminate and effects all.

The amount of money in your pocket should not dictate who you are and what you are capable of. Shouldn’t everyone have an equal chance to fulfill/maximize their potential? That’s not just the American dream… that’s the human(e) dream. 


Oklahoma. Enough said.
Or, not much else to say, I should say.

Watching the news yesterday as the tornado wreaked havoc and leveled a town to debris, I couldn’t even process in my head what was going on there.

I thought back to end of October, when Sandy — a minimal storm [not even categorized as an “official” hurricane] caused utter destruction in my town and in NJ/NY in general. I remember thinking in the aftermath of Sandy’s destruction that I can’t even fathom what the end result is of Category 4 or 5 hurricanes, if  “superstorm” Sandy left so much destruction.  If that little storm caused so much damage, I don’t even want to think of what this tornado did/was capable of doing.

Just this past Sunday, we finally got the last of the damaged items cleared away in our backyard [shed and other items completely destroyed by the two trees that fell on them]. Repairing and replacing the damaged fence, removing the fallen trees took so long. Driving through town, damage is still evident — missing sidings in houses, missing/broken fences being the most obvious ones.

It took weeks to get back to a “new normal” in the aftermath of Sandy — rationed gases, grocery essentials missing from grocery stories, etc. Even when our grocery store got power back, they couldn’t carry perishables because electricity was so unpredictable.

How do you rebuild a whole town in the aftermath of such tornadoes? Schools, hospitals, residential areas are gone. Where does one even start? I don’t even know how a town reels from something on such a larger scale, when a minimal storm changed so much for us.

Hearing about the missing school children has especially gotten to me. I can’t, and don’t even want to, imagine what the parents must be feeling/going through. Yet, the heroic stories emerging about teachers? Something to smile about, that’s for sure. Teachers don’t get the credit they deserve. Every time I hear a teacher say “they are just doing their job” in the aftermath of something like this — whether it be a man-made tragedy, acts of God, mother nature, whatever… I want to remind them that they do so much more than “their job”. For that, I thank them. Not many do.

It’s remarkable to think in the aftermath of Newtown and Oklahoma especially — so many stories of so many educators risking their own lives for their students. Each time, they say something to the likes of “these are OUR kids”. The roles they take on are many, and sometimes an educator falls quite low when you think of all that they do for so many children each and everyday.

On a side note, if you know me, you know I’ve always wanted to go to Oklahoma! Not even sure why, but it’s been on my to-do list for the longest time.


There are just some things that I think should be universal because they are a right, not a privilege.

Two of these things are healthcare and education.

The poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich deserve the same, so why is it that money (or lack their of) dictates instead?

I don’t care that rich people can afford a house with three times the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms they need. I don’t care that rich people can afford to have multiple cars each and choose which car they feel like driving that day. I don’t care that rich people can waste thousands of dollars on a meal.

I just don’t care.

You know why? Because that’s a waste. It’s not necessary. It’s foolish.

I don’t bother thinking twice about that.

What frustrates me is the lack of quality education or education altogether for so many people because of where they live or because they can’t afford it.

Just think of how many people die on a regular basis because they couldn’t afford to be treated or purchase the necessary medicines… or live for years untreated when there is a treatment readily available.

It shouldn’t be this way. People deserve better.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Technical Difficulties

It would be my luck that the ONE day I would need to get in contact with someone at ETS, this would be the problem:


I had my GRE‘s scheduled for earlier this afternoon, and because of a mis-understanding (that’s what I am choosing to call it to be nice)… I was unable to take it.

Don’t I have great luck with these standardized tests? Remember this? (to name just one example) 🙁

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

84-Year-Old Freshman

I haven’t posted anything since I got back from Canada about two weeks ago, but this article I was just reading was too neat not to share:

It’s about an 84 year old man who is a freshman in college pursuing a degree in psychology and then hopes to to eventually get his masters in the field as well. How inspiring?

Click here to read the whole article.

Many times, as a student at Rutgers, I had non-traditional students in my classes – but this story is amazing.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Goodbye, Rutgers

I am a college graduate and it feels absolutely AMAZING, yet odd!

My graduation ceremony was earlier this afternoon. The funny thing is my older brother, Faraz, graduates on the 27th, so I am the first one of the cousins from my dad’s side to graduate!

I’d like to especially thank my family for putting up with everything they have these past four years with my nervousness/agony/stress/freaking out EVERY SINGLE SEMESTER – especially during the exam periods where I would feel stressed. I feel like describing it as being stressed out/freaking out don’t even do it justice – but i’m sure my brothers will have a better way to describe it! While it seemed like EVERY SINGLE SEMESTER started off with some sort of annoyance or issues (from registration to everything else possible), and things only stressed me out even more as the semester progressed, my family was always there to calm me down as best as they could – and find the humor in it. And thanks Ayaz, for driving me to class all the time 🙂
It hasn’t been the easiest few years, and the road to getting here has not been easy, by any means. But looking back, I can say – it has all been worth it. Rutgers has challenged me in ways I could not have even imagined, but with every accomplishment came a sense of victory. While each individual semester has seemed to drag on and has challenged me tremendously, I feel quite blessed to have received a pretty decent education from Rutgers. The stress, nervousness, and the many challenges that each semester has brought on, has without a doubt made me a stronger person.

and now, I can finally say … i’m finally DONE (undergraduate, at least)!

As another chapter in my life closes, i’m excited to see what the next one brings for me and the challenges that come with it.

Thank you EVERYONE for your continuing support and encouragement.

Goodbye, Rutgers. Thank for a great (challenging, frustrating, stressful, etc.) four years!

Four Years

Just days before my college graduation, as I was just now looking through old stuff, I came across my high school graduation cap and gown from four years ago for the first time since I graduated.

My tassel was still in tact on the cap. Gotta admit, it was a pretty weird feeling coming across it – so I had to take a picture.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m Done!

I’m DONE! 🙂

Can you sense my excitement?

I just submitted my last paper and I’m officially done everything! All that is left now is the commencement ceremony in a little over a week!

Actually, while I’m glad to be stress-free after handing in my last paper and finishing exams… I’m not yet sure how I feel about being done. It seems as if it was just yesterday that I was starting classes as a freshman, and here I am… four quick years later… an almost graduate.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Tag, You are It.

As I was leaving from the last day of class of “Current, Moral, and Social Issues” earlier today, (which is a class I was quite interested in taking but turned out to be quite disappointing), the professor said something profound.

He ended the class talking about how important the issues we discussed in this class were and that the debate and the conversation on such topics should never end and then said: “this is the most important game of tag you will ever play… and YOU are it.”

While I didn’t enjoy the class altogether, the quote did make me smile and has had me thinking of its validity. There are so many issues we are each passionate about, but how many of us actually speak up for them?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Politics and Possibilities, Part Two

This is a continuation of this.

A combination of loud neighbors, sirens going off all night outside, and just being in a new place equaled a sleepless night on Monday. As much as I love the city life, I definitely don’t see myself living in one.

On the agenda for the second day: the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Rutgers Federal Relations and the Haitian embassy.

Thankfully, there were no cancellations that day (at least that we were made aware of) and things ran a lot more smoothly. Without a doubt, the faculty member we traveled with and her supervisor had realized how annoyed we were at how the previous day had gone by (especially considering the fact that they have done this for so many years).

One of the things the man we spoke to at the department of justice talked to us about was how he has four brothers and all are either in prison currently or in the process of going back to prison and ironically this man works for the department of justice/federal bureau of prisons. This came up as we discussing peoples’ backgrounds and where they grew up and how your upbringing effects what you do in life. His point basically was that even with adversity, it is what you do that effects what you become in your life.

At the Rutgers Federal Relations office, we spoke to two Rutgers alumni’s. We talked about the budget cuts that would be effecting education and its impact on schools everywhere, especially Rutgers. I’ve talked over and over again about how I feel about education, and it is so sad that tuition fees keep going up, yet resources and classes that are offered (amongst many other things) keep getting cut.

Our final stop was the Haitian embassy. As we were walking there we passed the embassies of so many different countries, so that was pretty neat (especially trying to figure out what country some of the flags represented).

Anyone with half a heart has to be beyond devastated in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Haiti in January. Such a large natural disaster can create havoc anywhere, and for it to effect the poorest nation – one can only imagine!

Of course, the number one question on everyones’ mind was ‘what can we do for help?’. The man used the example of bottled water. One of the things that people continue to donate is bottled water – because if you think about it, their rational thinking is probably that water is a necessity and Haitians need it. Well, they are partly correct – they do need water, but instead of exporting water there… what they need is money to build things up once again so they can provide things for themselves.

He also told us a chilling story that gave me goosebumps. A friend of his (person A) works in an embassy (I think – I might be misremembering the place, but that’s not really important) in Haiti and it was a frantic and busy day at work. While he was doing his work, a friend of his (person B) called him and said he really needed help down at his office and if he (person A) could please come down right away. Person A told Person B that he was really busy and that he would come down later, but person B kept insisting and said ‘you would be a lifesaver’ if you came down and helped. Person A finally annoyingly agreed and as he was on his way to person B, the earthquake struck. The outcome was that Person A’s office was completely destroyed and everyone died… but person A survived because of person B!

Person A told the guy we spoke to how guilty he felt and also how person B had said ‘you would be a lifesaver’, yet person B had saved person A’s life. It’s amazing, yet so sad. The situation was completely out of his control, yet you can’t help but realize how torn the man must feel. Thankful and fortunate that he survived, yet feeling horrible that all of his colleagues died.

After visiting the Haitian embassy, we headed back to our hotel to get to our van and head back home (not before the faculty member and her supervisor wasted another half hour though).

It was pretty weird that we went to Washington D.C. and didn’t even see the White House or the monuments and memorials, considering that pretty much defines D.C.

You would think driving a four and a half hour drive (one way) and spending two days with four other students (I did know one of them from last semester) and two faculty members you have never met before would be awkward, but luckily the other four students were easy to get along with and even in the car ride – we all were talking from everything from movies to political events (we were all political science students after all!). I think who you are with makes all the difference, so it was definitely a good thing.

All in all, we got to speak to several people who gave us great advice and were quite informative, so at the end of the day – I’m glad I went.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.