Education to me has been a journey of learning that I started as a child, its direction has changed severally down the road, but the destination has always remained the same; to become an academic scholar. In order to achieve this, I need to have motivation, need to have knowledge and fill in a lacuna with information and at the same time have a degree. I remember, this one time when I was ten, my dad took me to a visit his younger brother, my uncle, who was in college. It was a scene to be longed for; the tall buildings, the lecture halls, the student hostels with music and pictures all over. What caught my eye, however, was the library; standing strong in the middle of the college like it was the heart, with shelves full of books about our history and opening a chance to defining our future. That night, I remember I made the resolution that I had to become one of those students I saw there.
Coming from a large family of five siblings, we were taught embrace our culture as a family. I know when I say culture most people think about ethnicity and heritage, but to me culture is what one believes in. Culture to me is not the fact that I am an Saudi, culture is the things I do every day in the same way because of the course my life has taken. A Saudi and an African can have different heritage, but the same culture especially when they interact on an intellectual and social setting.
Without all the support I got from my family I probably would not be where I am currently. Having many siblings enables you to be able to socialize with people of different personality and characters and learn how to accept them. This enabled me to find a family at school. My teachers became like my parents, they would guide me, point out my mistakes and congratulate my achievements. My classmates became like my siblings, even though at times we would disagree we would always look out for each other. And the school became a home, where my dreams were cherished and my potential noted and exploited for my greater good. I have made wonderful friends and memories in school; made mistakes as well, learnt lessons from all challenges and grown in terms of who I am. However, I can’t wait to make new friends, new memories all over again. I can’t wait to experience new challenges, learn life lessons and mostly expand in terms of knowledge. Since knowledge is power, increase my power to influence and enact changes in the contemporary society.
As I write this letter, I can’t help but recall my academic journey. As a Saudi, who belongs to an Islamic minority sect religion known as Shia Ismaili Muslim Sect, , I’ve experienced discrimination based on that factor. While in Junior high school in Saudi Arabia, I used to be teased because of my affiliation to that sect . At times it would get to me but I would always redirect my frustration into positive energy. I studied hard and became at the top of my class most of the times. This boosted my confidence enough to be able to speak up against racism, discrimination and prejudice of any kind.
Even though I have experienced challenges in my life as I was coming up, there are several achievements in my life that I am proud of and they have made great impacts in shaping the person that I have become.
In 2003: Earned my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from King Saud University, Saudi Saudia in 20034/2003 -12/2005: Worked with National Company for Cooperative Insurance, Tawuniya, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as Customer Service Executive after graduation. My tasks were:• Acquired managerial skills, evaluated risks and analyzed customers’ financial and risk related statements.Guided and directed marketing representatives, brokers in medical and auto insurance services as a professional consultant.In 2006: Earned King Abdullah Scholarship in 2006 in order to finish my masters at U.S
After receiving a scholarship to do my masters in America, I was exposed to a different social setting. This brought out an aspect in me that I had never known existed; curiosity and acceptance. I wanted to know all there is to know about the American economy and social life and I was willing to accept certain changes in ideology and opinion as a result.In 2010: Graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a Master of Science degree in Economics with specialization in Financial EconomicsIn 2011: worked with the Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH) at their Research & Advisory Centre as a Researcher and an Economist.In 2012: Chosen by SIMAH to work with Standard & Poor analytics and Capital IQ division in S&P’s headquarters in the financial district of New York to design the first probability of default model by using a Logit model tailored for the Saudi economy. The main objective of this model is to anticipate the creditworthiness of potential borrowers.
The highlight of it all was when my book under the title of: Does the U.S. dollar have an effect on the price of crude oil?, was chosen by a German publishing house, known as Lambert Academic Publishing House, in order to be published and sold by whole sellers worldwide. It was a reward that inspired me more and more to know that I can be able to solve problems in the society using my knowledge. Currently, I want to continue with all my achievements by doing a Phd in economics in the UC Santa Cruz.
UC Santa Cruz is my choice because it embraces diversity. I am a strong believer of what Emile Durkheim once said that cohesion in a society is not based on the similarities of individuals, but is strengthened by differences and diversity because it builds dependency and responsibility. Having been brought up in a relatively cosmopolitan society, I believe differentiation gives people a chance to work hard. This is not only in terms of opportunities but also in terms of social class and household income. I also believe that a person is more than what simply meets the eye. We are all given the same opportunities and the law equalizes us, however what we do with these opportunities defines who we are. Heritage and genetics can offer us so much.
This brings me to the question of who am I? I am the young child who had a dream of going to college and dared to make it come true against all odds. I am the person who chooses to focus more on the solution rather than the problem. I am the person who believes that education is not the end; it gives me a chance to do much more. At the same time I am the person who believes that Heroes still exist, that swimming is a fun sport and ice cream is not only for children.