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Gap year

Dear Management”,

I applied to a few universities in Pak and USA in my senior year. Got accepted to a couple of them and then with my father I decided to pursue my bachelors in States and come back to my country. But maybe Allah (SWT) had different plans for me, and my visa got rejected in July. Maybe it was a sign that I should take a gap year since I was really confused what to do. I needed some time to myself to think about what to do in life and how to go about it.

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I commenced my gap year taking a job at Academia Civitas, where initially I was hired as TA for Science Department. The school had a handful of differently abled kids but no specific department for them. I proposed the idea of having a department to cater differently abled children. The idea was approved by the management and I was asked to recruit a qualified time for these kids. I had no prior experience of handling differently abled kids or recruiting a team, so it was quite challenging for me but somehow I managed to build my team in the time provided. It is often said by people who mean well that working with children with special needs “requires the patience of a saint.” Not true. What it does require is human compassion — something more of us have than we seem ready to acknowledge. I worked with dyslexic, autistic and deaf-mute children. It was an experience worth having in life. It enhanced my personality, made me more compassionate and content to life. These kids were always extra happy to have me around and used to add color to my day. While being a resource teacher to the children, I grew with them. I still remember how happy Ziyad (deaf-mute kid) was when we learnt alphabets on a 3D model together. Hania (dyslexic kid) was a gem! While teaching her basic addition through interesting games, I learnt how education can really be made fun for everyone and not just differently abled kids to keep them focused.

I was truly having the time of my life until my dad had a sudden Cardiac Arrest in Oct 2018. During his recovery period, seeing him work from his hospital bed made me realise something had to be done both emotionally and physically. The incident inspired me to use all my savings and salary, and open FOOD FUSION. A catering business which provides fresh cooked meals, with a diverse menu ranging from Eastern to Italian, American and Chinese cuisine. With no prior experience of running a business, it was pretty much needed that I had to give it my full attention for a couple of weeks at least. Thus I resigned from Civitas after first term. There is so much I learnt from my business. How to keep my calm during stressful episodes, how to run on credit and deal with creditors, how to attract customers and moreover how to create everything I can dream.

FOOD FUSION takes pride in identifying itself an all women business. From being the CEO to cooking and delivery of food, women master it all! It believes in women being capable of achieving anything they want. It believes in women’s sense of professionalism. It provides a safe working environment to women who are kind enough to step out of their doors and help me take FOOD FUSION to its horizons. These women have helped me reach to my break even point in a couple of weeks and attracted more customers. They help me to be financially independent wholeheartedly because most of them come from an oppressed background. Despite the fact that they were robbed off basic education, they help me achieve my dream because they know how important it is for a woman to own up her responsibilities and well being. They exposed me to harsh realities of the society and I realised how privileged I am. As a gesture of appreciation, I came up with the idea of ‘Dhanak NGO’. Dhanak in English means rainbow. I named my NGO ‘Dhanak’ because just like rainbow tends to add colour to life and is a symbol of hope, I tend to make the lives of women around me, cherished and full of colours. Dhanak is still under legal work to get itself registered but funds for it are flowing in with lots of enthusiasm. Dhanak will serve as a platform to educate women who were deprived of their basic education, to shelter women who escape abusive households but have no place to live, to find respectable work for women who want to support themselves and to give vocational training.

No matter how engaged you try to keep yourself, you still end up having free time on a gap year. So I adopted a few hobbies. Learning new languages is one of them. Learning a new language gives us a chance to see many things that are around us in a different aspect. It broadens our way of thinking and in the end as we learn we enhance our intelligence. I started off with Sindhi and eventually developed a passion of learning languages, thus after gaining command over it, I moved to German and now will appear for German Language Exam to achieve a proper qualification.

Travelling is my favourite downtime. During winters, I managed to extract time for myself and went for a Pak tour by road with a friend. It really freshened me and gave me a much needed break from my hectic schedule. Besides that travelling always leaves you with experiences worth remembering. I came across different tribes, and was greatly moved by their hospitality. The journey introduced me to an untold tale of Pakistan. It introduced me to the love people carry in their hearts and the extra mile they go to make you feel comfortable.

Besides that SAT and now LAT (which is scheduled next Sunday) occupy one of the major chunks of my time.

I still remember, how unwillingly I took a gap year, but like it is said ; whatever happens, happens for good. It is true. My gap year groomed me more than two years of college did. It beautifully carved me into a better person. More compassionate, more mature, stronger than I was and definitely happier with life. And somewhere along, I finally discovered myself. Now I have a much clear vision of what I want ahead in my life. Which degree, which university and why. I achieved the purpose of my gap year and now I am ready to commence my higher education in September.

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