I feel EMPOWERED!

My recent experience of being a keynote speaker at the ‘TAP into Talent’ event run by AMINA-Muslim Women’s Resource Centre had cleared a huge misconception I held for myself and my worth.

I have always been one to stay hidden and not speak out.  I didn’t think it was needed. Assuming the invisibility cloak to keep me out of sight, out of mind. It was normal to remain in a quiet corner at the back of the classroom.  It was only recently as I began to integrate towards my dreams and goals. I felt my voice mattered. It needed to be heard whether people liked It or not.

Most of us take the approach like “As long as it’s not in my back yard”– meaning as long as its not affecting me directly why do I care?

Wrong, I should care. If it doesn’t affect me, it does affect someone else. A unified voice is far more impactful then being a lone voice.

Only recently having moved to Perth to pursue my degree. Have I truly just found myself. My skills, got in touch with my inner self, roots and talents. This big move from Milton Keynes to Perth, opened so many opportunities.

Being elected the Vice President of Education and Engagement for HISA -Perth (Highlands and Islands Students Association) presented me with an opportunity to make my voice heard. Make my voice matter. I no longer needed this invisibility cloak. I no longer needed to assign myself to the quiet seat at the back of the room.  I represent the voice of 9000 students. I speak freely and openly to senior management of the college. I initiate change. Form decisions that shape our future as students.

I feel EMPOWERED!

Being a Muslim, A Women of Colour, A Women STEM Student it is instinctive to feel “I’m not represented”.

So, it was time to remove this cloak. Becoming that representation. Getting in touch with my inner self, my roots and showcasing my talents. I am that representation for Muslim Students, Women of Colour, for Women STEM students.  I have always believed “don’t ask to see change, become the change”.

Its easy to veil ourselves and ponder why our voices do not matter. Why not just step forward and raise that voice to make yourself heard?  Becoming the influencer of change.

This integration of my role at my student’s association and at the college has further strengthened my determination to pursue my dreams, my aspirations.

The aspiration of becoming a commercial pilot, a childhood dream and more recently, my family’s, more importantly my father and grandfather, dream.  They wish to see me reach the sky and spread my wings.

I began breaking barriers and stereo types that Asian women grow up just to be homemakers. Yes! We make amazing wives. But, we make better Students, we excel in every job we take up.  We inspire to be inspired. We’re not trophies to be showcased. Were a talent, an ambition, with a single opportunity we outshine our counterparts.

I had never thought I would be partaking a degree in Aircraft Engineering, nor that I would be the Vice President of a Students Association, delivering a speech for AMINA, be a STEM Champion with the Interconnect network or writing a blog post for Equate Scotland.

My Religion. My Race. My Gender. My age does not limit me. For it makes me indispensable.

So, I tell myself every day, be the change, make that change, you’ll see change.

Nurina Sharmin

Interconnect Student Champion for Perth College UHI

Nurina Sharmin is our Interconnect Student Champion for Perth College UHI. She is currently studying Aircraft Engineering and is also the Vice President of Education and Engagement for her students association.

Nurina has written this powerful piece highlighting intersectionality and how she has found her voice.