Berha SalmanBerha's Story

To be continued! That is what I want the title of this article to be, even though I graduated, which I am proud of myself for as it is such an achievement while being grateful for the immense support around me, I am certainly not done. A part of me knows what I want since I was a little girl, and the other part is confused because I feel like I am changing every day: not in a creepy mutation way but emotionally and psychologically. I am evolving so much every day that sometimes even I do not know what I am looking for.

I am from Pakistan, a developing country with strict cultural restrictions, especially for women, but that is the same worldwide. Being a girl with big dreams anywhere is a struggle, especially in a third-world country. I love my country, but life for women who wish to have a career is almost impossible. People do not have many financial resources, so parents usually save money for their daughter’s marriage because of dowry, which is a tradition there, rather than spending money on education. I was born a little lucky; my mother, who is a single parent, understood that women should be independent so they can support their family but, more importantly, themselves. Even though I have a supportive family back home and here in the United States, I still had to face my fair share of discrimination. I work hard to get good grades and now focus on my job because I want to build a career, but my education is still considered a hobby, not a necessity. Almost every day, I get asked when I am getting married and settling down since I turned twenty-three, and I am closer to my expiry date of being a desirable wife, which is common in all cultures. Quiet, young, delicate, proper, and well-behaved is what a girl is expected to be, and now, since I have already failed these expectations, I do not mind being expired too.

I have big dreams and expectations from myself and I am ready to work hard for them hence my title “To Be Continued” because no way this is the end, my story has just started I can't wait to go back to school and build who I am, get my masters and eventually my Ph.D. I wish to publish my research and travel worldwide. As I have said, I know that my dreams are big but I heard somewhere “What if your dreams do not come true but what if they do?” Since that day I have always kept that in my mind and tried to live by it and I can’t even explain how many opportunities I have received by just trying and asking for what I deserve.