The power of having a goal – #stillhiddenfigures

One of the best things about the future is how unpredictable it is. Then again, that’s also one of the worst things about it. It all just depends on your perspective, says one of our Let us Learn campaigners.

The above sentiment reflects my life for the past nine years. In my previous blog, I mentioned that one of the main things that kept me motivated was the thought of going to university. It still is – although I have no way of getting there, because I don’t qualify for a student loan.

All through secondary school and college, the goal of university helped to keep me focused, even though there was violence at home and we moved around a lot while we tried to sort out our immigration status. This goal helped me wipe my face and smile after 20 minutes of crying every morning in the toilets. This goal made me think I can make something of myself and repay all the amazing people who were kind to me, even they didn’t have to be. For me, education was a way that I could finally have an equal footing to succeed like other people. It would give me the same opportunities as others my age to work for my own future. It is what helped me achieve seven AS levels and five A grades at A-level, plus an A* in my extended project qualification.

It was this goal that led me to secure an interview at Cambridge University to study medicine. When this happened, I felt: wow! I really could achieve anything. I didn’t receive an offer from Cambridge, which would be disappointing for anyone but, after my reflection period, I still felt driven by the goal I had set myself.

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It’s ironic that it’s my immigration status that has motivated me to work hard and achieve, as it’s also what has knocked me back again and again, barring me from receiving the higher education that I want so much.

My message to others in this situation is about the power of a goal. It could be anything really, as long it keeps you driven, focused and determined. Just don’t let it go. I won’t lie, sometimes I genuinely have almost given up, but I just look at how far I’ve come. Another thing about having a goal is that it somehow brings the right people around you. When my goal has not been enough, the journey towards that goal has surrounded me with strangers who have become family, who pick me up when I stumble. These people know my goal and have listened to me rant, rage and cry, and then help me up and dust myself down and keep moving towards my goal. To graduate from university will not be my goal forever, of course, but for now it is definitely enough to direct me and help me block out the more heartbreaking sides of not having immigration status in the UK.