Jood Ikram Sheikh, a 17-year old student at Qatar Academy Sidra, talks about her emotional journey after she lost her mother to breast cancer
For the person I am today, I am very fortunate to have had a mother who took education very seriously, even though she never had the luxury of receiving the same quality of education as my siblings and I. Despite being single and struggling with a chronic illness, my mother always prioritized my education. And the challenges of attending school, amongst others, have taught me to never take what I have for granted.
I would miss weeks and months of school throughout my primary years due to my mother’s complications. But this made me cherish the privilege of receiving an education even more. My way of thanking my mother, for being able to give me the opportunity to go to school, became the grades and recognition I earned. That made her the happiest, and in return, it made me feel like her fight for my education was worth her while.
In the middle of seventh grade, I found myself suddenly without my mother after she passed away from a long, but silent battle with breast cancer.
After she passed, I moved to Qatar from another Gulf country to live with my brother; someone who is also a father figure and a best friend to me. He, like my other siblings, received quality education from universities in Qatar Foundation (QF). And because of this high standard of education, he instantly knew that he wanted me to attend a QF school.
Everything after that moment was nothing short of a blessing.
It is heartening knowing that Qatar Academy Sidra, and ultimately QF, look at their members for who they are
After completing my entrance exam at QF’s Qatar Academy Sidra, I found out I was eligible for a scholarship. I was speechless knowing that I was given the opportunity to not just focus on being the best academically, but also work towards becoming the best version of myself. It is heartening knowing that Qatar Academy Sidra, and ultimately QF, look at their members for who they are – regardless of financial status, ethnic background, gender or age, and everyone has an equal chance to succeed. You are seen as a unique individual, and are encouraged to grow and reach your full potential.
At school, I continue to build upon the morals and values my mother spent eleven years instilling in me. I attend 30 classes a week, where I get to be a student on a level playing field. Remembering how persistent my mother was about pushing me and my siblings to never settle for second best inspires me to have that same mentality to this very day.
Reflecting back on my journey thus far, every hardship I have experienced was rewarded with something greater in return. I am forever thankful for the support that my family, school, and community give me in immeasurable capacities.
As I am currently applying to universities and planning my future, many of my aspirations are beginning to surface. One day, I want to be a doctor. The next day, I want to be a lawyer. Despite my indecisiveness, I am certain that my heart is set on being a people’s person. I want to use the privilege and power of my current education to provide people with the care and attention they need, as well as ensure that I am bettering my community and society.
And at the end of the day, I know this is what my mother would want me to be – a person who is selfless, kind, and humble; a person who understands the importance of giving back; and one who appreciates the value of quality education in today’s day and age.