Hi, my name is Maha Hassan. I graduated from Milton District High School in 2011 and went on to pursue Health Sciences at Western University. Throughout my 4 years at Western, I not only learned about the Canadian health care system and the holistic meaning of health, but also about myself. Who is Maha? What are her gifts? And I realized something that I was too afraid to admit to myself in high school – that I have many different passions. I want to have many careers in my lifetime. I’m passionate about health care, mentorship and teaching, entrepreneurship and innovation, homelessness, social housing, and food insecurity. I used university to its fullest by capitalizing on all the financial aid I could receive in order to travel. I traveled through most of Europe, the United States and even China.
While in China, I lived with a Chinese family for 2 months where I had the opportunity to see the culture and learn the language first hand. That’s when I started learning more about the world, beyond myself. I learned that every individual and culture is unique. Yet, at the same time how universal most things are like love, communication, respect and happiness. It also constantly put me outside my comfort zone and that’s the most important lesson I’ve learned in the past 4 years. You cannot become a better version of yourself and uncover your gifts unless you’re willing to stretch beyond what you already know. By exploring the world, I learned more about myself. The best part of my travels was meeting people from all over the world and learning about their life experiences. I realized that I’m not alone and that a lot of the confusion I’m going through is universal.
Don’t be fearless; be brave. Understanding your fears and overcoming them takes strength. Travel seems like the cool thing to do nowadays. However, when you’re halfway across the world with no one you love and care about by your side, you realize how much it sucks! But that’s the key. You have to conquer your fears. You have to be brave. As my favourite author, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her new book Big Magic, “Without bravery, you’ll never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, your life will remain small – far smaller than you probably wanted your life to be”.
Overall, enjoy every moment of your next step. Whatever that may be – university, college, apprenticeship, or the workforce. But always remember to challenge yourself and stretch your limits because otherwise you’ll miss out on all the precious gifts that you have to offer.
From Mark Saunders to Chris Hadfield, you might be surprised to learn who has come through MD, and where they are now!
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