At the age of about 16- 18 years, we are thrust with the responsibility to make one of the most important decisions of our life - “What do I want to do for the rest of my life?”. Picking a major or a field to specialize in and then spend years to graduate only to realize that it may not have been your calling may not seem like an ideal situation to be in, but it is way more common than you think.
Mahmood Mirza’s experience of discovering his passion after graduation is one such example and here’s what he has to say:
1. What did you study?
Bachelor in Computer Engineering – UoB and currently doing my master in Engineering Management.
2. What are you currently doing?
Managing Educational and Skills for Employability projects at the British Council.
3. How did you make this shift? What challenges did you face?
I always thought I loved my major while studying, but when I did my industrial training in one of the IT companies, I found out that this is not really the field I want to see myself working in for the next 20 years. On parallel the first reaction I got when I shared this with people is that it’s too late and that I already got my bachelor degree in this field and changing should not be even an idea.
At the same time, I volunteered in an organization called AIESEC - Largest youth organization in the world- and it helped a lot in discovering myself, my strengths, my weaknesses and things I enjoy in life. It helped me to have a journey of self-discovery that university did not provide and from this point I realized that there is nothing called it’s too late as long as you fight for what you believe in.
I took a decision to go against the flow and against what my colleagues and decided to shift my path towards youth development and empowerment where I got the chance to excellence in many areas in this field as my passion were main driver to achieve.
Years after taking this step and looking back, it’s crazy and not easy to completely go against the flow, but this step in my life made me realize that it’s never too late and learning does not come from university only. We should always seek for different sources of learning and the most powerful one usually the one that comes from practical experiences. We always aim to get the highest GPA focusing on the theoretical part neglecting the soft skills and practical experiences that are usually the gate for us to have a successful career. I believe that Bachelor Degree is a step in life that help us to shape our mindset and the rest depend on us on how to take things to the next step.
4. And lastly, what does doing what you love mean to you?
I’ve always believed that inside each one of us there is an internal flame that could either add to this flame or diminish it. Us going to work every day and spending 8-9 hours should always be a reason to ignite this flame.
Just like when you go to restaurant with your friends, each one of you would order the meal he/she crave and enjoy. Same goes to what is the job that we love, many of us seems to compare their job with others and wish they could be in their role thinking that would be their dream job but when they do try it they find out that this is not what they wanted at all. A Job we love should come from our real interests and passions in life. You will never excel in a field that you are not passionate about.
Waking up every day without sounds of the alarm is a happy moment for many of us during the weekend. I believe those are moments that can happen throughout the week if we started working on something we love. A sign of knowing that I love what I do is when I forget to check the time during work because I am really enjoying what am doing.