No Pain, No Gain.
I learned the true meaning of this expression at the beginning of my journey. So let me go back to when and where it all started.
Even in the earliest years of my life, when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered, “doctor.” I have always been fascinated by the workings of life. The human body is a remarkable machine with many diverse systems making up an organism that could never be artificially reproduced.
My love for science is just one of my reasons for choosing to specialize in the field of genetics. What initially motivated me more to take the path of science was the lack of expertise in genetics in the UAE at the time. I enjoy the challenges of being a scientist and I always knew it would be a tough career. However – thanks to many I met along the way – it has been a gratifying journey.
But as with any journey there were difficulties to overcome. The language barrier was an obstacle that I had to tackle from the start. Coming from a public school that did not have a strong English program, it wasn’t easy for me to learn English as a second language. I prevailed, though, by reading and practicing with my friends at school, aided by the odd television program.
While enrolled in University, I struggled with homesickness. I had never been away from my family and back then there were no social media outlets like we have today. We only had email, a technology my family was not familiar with. They actually sent me postcards and handwritten letters.
Many times I thought about ending my education expedition and returning home to be with my family and friends again. But the thought of quitting never settled well with me and I pushed on.
Every person goes through low points in their life. Times when they just want to give up and run away. These times are what make us strong people. Instead of giving up, we rise up to reach our goals and dreams. I was able to see the light at the end of tunnel, which pushed me to graduate with high honors.
By Dr. Habiba Alsafar,
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering at Khalifa University