Today is one of the good days, or lets say the special ones. Not just because I crossed the 100,000 follower mark on twitter and was humbled by a congratulations (Alf Mabrook) and a “follow” from Her Majesty Queen Noor, but also because I received the official confirmation of a 12 years old dream.
This afternoon the final award letter of Chevening Scholarship hit my inbox. It has been 12 years since I first applied for this scholarship when I graduated from the University of Jordan in the year 2000. Since then I have applied for around 6-7 times (once every two years). Last time was 3 years ago where I was told that I ranked 16th in Jordan, pending on the waiting list for they were going to reward only 9. This year, I made it into the 9 list of fortunate Jordanians.
It is funny how things change over the years. I have always wanted to do my Masters but wasn’t satisfied with my education at the University of Jordan and thus always thought that I am only going to do my Masters if it is in a good reputable company in UK or the USA. But since I have never been able to save the amount of money required for such a degree abroad, I have always opted to apply for this scholarship. My first application was “typed” by a type writer because there was no online applications back then. My personal statement was written by my cousin (thank you Laila), and I think that I wanted to do “Graphic Design” back then, that evolved to “Computer Animation”, and later on “Human Rights” and now awarded to do “Creative Writing”!
Back in the day when I first started to blog things were much different. I think that I was at a point in my life where I was not satisfied with my career progress at all. I was doing user interface development for 4-5 years at the same company. I was not happy with what I was doing and was feeling that my value at the company was decreasing. Looking for alternatives, things were not promising!
I wouldn’t want to simplify and romanticize what happened because the turn of events has a lot more to do than what I am going to tell. My loss and confusion were met by a gift from a colleague at the same company who was back from a trip to the USA. A very precious gift in the form of “Who Moved my Cheese” Book which had a quite and impact on me. I suddenly realized that my “cheese” is getting smaller and smaller and that I have move out from my comfort zone and look around for a different one, and since then, I have been running and running.. unlocking different cheeses here and there and everywhere! (Reading in general has been a blessing for me).
The transition wasn’t easy, at first I tried to change my track within the company into the backend side of development. On the side, I started working on LickyLicious (my failed attempt to run an ice cream shop). Online, I found refuge in my blog, speaking up my mind and shacking up the social status quo. I discovered a hidden passion for writing coupled with a great love towards communicating with people online and exchanging ideas. The internet opened many doors for me, introduced me to many people, and helped shaping both my way of thinking and my way of expressing those thoughts in the form of writing.
Fast forward 6 years later, I was able to break out of that career path, social media was a viable alternative. My ideas that were expressed on my blog and in short stories and film scripts got compiled into my first novel “Aroos Amman” that came out early in the year and since then generated much buzz, success and introduced me to many wonderful people. I am happy today with what I have achieved so far although now having to quit my work and go study makes things a bit unclear for me. I am hoping to seize the change to develop my writing skills, improve my english language, develop an interesting novel for the course, and maybe find time to finish my second novel “Jannah ala al ard”. I hope to be able one day to make a living from my books, be able to dedicate myself to writing. That’s what I have in mind for now, but who knows how things would look like few years ahead.
I have worked with two wonderful people this weekend on a video that talks about my experience and what they want to deliver as “success” in order to highlight some success stories of young Jordanians and inspire others to achieve their full potential. One of their questions was about how I define success and how I define failure.
Having time to think about it now, I would say that success is a staircase that comes in steps. You can’t measure it except of your inner satisfaction. It grows larger as you move higher in the stairs. On the other hand, failure is just a hole. You may face it on your way, but it would never define you if you keep on moving and trying over and over again. Stay tuned for the full video soon.