Zainab Abusuhail, season nine contestant of the QF edutainment program, talks about her journey in innovation and her views of failure as an essential part of learning
The road to making her dreams come true was never carved out for her, but she took off to where her passion led her. Zainab Abusuhail, a Bahraini, who was among the contestants of the ninth season of Qatar Foundation’s edutainment program – Stars of Science – talks about how she used her learnings from the show and applied them to her own life.
Abusuhail embarked on her Stars of Science journey with an invention of a programmed device that analyzes fracture injuries, and mixes materials to produce casts that custom fit the fractured limbs.
Her father suffered from a severe fracture leading to the whole family experiencing some extremely trying times. This incident sparked the idea of her innovation. However, unfortunately, it did not reach the final stage of Stars of Science – a defect in the mixing process of the materials led to it lacking the ability of healing fractured bones.
For Abusuhail, this was not the end of her journey; rather the beginning. She considered this step her starting point after reaping many benefits from the program. And although she didn’t win the award of the season, her resolve to do something big got even stronger.
This experience helped me break the barriers of social shyness. It gave me the courage to express myself and speak in front of the camera
“My participation in Stars of Science gave me a real opportunity for self-development as audiences from all over the Arab world followed my journey. They watched my successes and failures live on TV. This could have discouraged me, but I preferred to look at the positive side,” she says.
“This experience helped me break the barriers of social shyness. It gave me the courage to express myself and speak in front of the camera. It even gave me wide fame that made me think about how to use it, as well as invest it in other businesses,” Abusuhail adds.
After her participation in Stars of Science, Abusuhail – who is currently studying for an MA in Psychiatric Nursing in the UK – embarked on another journey. This time as an influencer.
She used social media platforms to share her experiences with the aim of inspiring others to never be afraid of failing, and that failures are an inevitable and authentic part on the journey to success.
I never considered the failure of my invention in Stars of Science as a loss, but rather as an experience that taught me a lot. It opened new horizons for me to discover my abilities
“I never considered the failure of my invention in Stars of Science as a loss, but rather as an experience that taught me a lot. It opened new horizons for me to discover my abilities.
“We, as human beings, go through moments that feel like we are on the verge of giving up, but it all depends on our own concept of failure. Reflecting on our failures and the lessons we learned from them is taking a step closer to achieving goals. I believe in always looking forward, and not stopping at something that we cannot change unless we are going to learn from it.
I also believe that experiences of failure have a greater impact than success stories because they shed light on the weaknesses in a person’s experience, and how he managed to overcome them
“I believe in the Almighty’s saying: (And it may be that you hate a thing, and it is good for you — Al-Qur'an 2:216) so Allah the Almighty must put us to tests for our benefit, yet we do not necessarily realize it at the time. I also believe that experiences of failure have a greater impact than success stories because they shed light on the weaknesses in a person’s experience, and how he managed to overcome them and even turn them into positive experiences that he can benefit from.”
It was not the first time that Abusuhail had invested experiences or feelings stemming from failures into something positive. The motivation behind her studying psychiatric nursing was that a member of her family was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she carried genes that might expose her to the same illness someday.
For years, Abusuhail and her family suffered from the social stigma attached to mental illness, which inspired her to choose to study psychiatric nursing. She wants to be able to educate the community and spread awareness about what mental illness is and people can deal with it.
Abusuhail is currently working on a patent that has not yet been disclosed, in cooperation with the National Health Service in the UK, to serve the mental health sector.
On the other hand, Abusuhail also did not allow various social obstacles to stand in the way of her dream of traveling and pursuing nursing studies in the UK. Despite her holding a job in one of the largest government hospitals in her country that ensures her stability, as well as her inability to travel due to the pandemic, she still didn’t give up on her dream and fought to pursue it against all odds.
Abusuhail says: “When I think about the circumstances that led to the postponement of my dream, I realize that it was in my best interest. After the pandemic broke out, I worked as a nurse in the intensive care unit in one of the largest hospitals in Bahrain. I got promoted in a short time. So, I got the chance to save enough money to travel. I was also highly regarded in my community for being among the first nurses to fight on the frontlines during the pandemic.”
Abusuhail’s invention to fix bone fractures won her a gold on the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (Year 2018) after she fixed the glitches that appeared in her project she presented in Stars of Science. She also started the "Post of Hope", an initiative that aims to support cancer patients in her home country, Bahrain.
For this initiative, Abusuhail called for the opening of a recreation room in a local hospital that would contain various activities such as video games, a library, and handicrafts to help improve the mental health of cancer patients. This project has seen completion through the support of local businessmen.
Determination is to rise after every fall and look at your failures with appreciation because without them you would not have achieved any of your goals
Abusuhail believes that passion and determination are the two essential ingredients for success, whereas the pursuit of financial gain alone is not enough to create and innovate.
She says: "Passion is the real key. To love what you do is what will open doors for you. It is what will make you invest your time and effort voluntarily to achieve your dreams. Determination is to rise after every fall and look at your failures with appreciation because without them you would not have achieved any of your goals."