Thousands if not millions of people travel every day; some by land and others by planes, and a few by ships but they all do for a purpose. Every traveler has a story; it can be happy or sad. Some are leaving to see loved ones and some are leaving their loved ones. We all do it in the chase for something.

On August 22, 2018, it was my time to be one of those travelers and I have a story to tell too. After months of preparation and waiting; time has finally come for me to start off my new journey away from home and loved ones. I left Libya to France to pursue an awaited dream that I worked so hard to reach. The road was bumpy but definitely worth it. I am now in France to get my master’s degree in Environmental Policy at Sciences Po University.

“I’ve learned that it’s not a straight road to the top, and there are going to be setbacks along the way. You have to be patient, and you have to keep believing in what you’re doing. And keep believing in yourself, no matter what is happening. And then eventually you’ll get there.” – Eugenie Bouchard

I could’ve not made it without the support of my family and friends. I had days where I doubted the entire process and other days where I was on top of the moon. The day I traveled; I hugged my dad goodbye and went off straight to the gate. It was at 1:30 am and I cried after he left. I realized at that moment that I was on my own and my journey has just begun.

I was so sleepy and exhausted but overwhelmed. I looked around and I was surrounded by strangers. Kids were asleep on waiting benches, people on their phones and others talking. I was sitting alone and tears were streaming down my face but those were happy tears because I remembered all the downs I went through in order to be waiting for my last flight to my final destination.

I finally boarded the plane and I knew that everyone around has a story (even the guy who sat next to me and slept for the whole duration of the flight). All I know is that this is not the end; it is only the beginning. Today, it is my first day as a master’s degree student and I hope that two years from now; I share with you the story of a master’s degree graduate.

It takes so much sacrifice and dedication to make your dreams a reality. You will have times where you think you are so close to giving up but the outcome will make you rethink again. There is no magic stick for success. Without hard work, there is no success.  Nature gives birds their food but does not put it in their nest. They have to work hard for it. It took Noah Webster 36 years to compile Webster’s Dictionary. Even small accomplishments require hard work and are better than big talk.


*This was originally published on Malak’s blog

Written by Malak AlTaeb

Malak Altaeb is a Chemical Engineering graduate from the University of Tripoli, class of 2016. She participated in two exchange programs in the United States of America; the first one was Space Camp 2010, and the Middle East Partnership Initiative MEPI 2015. She has participated in civic society projects in different fields, such as with people with special needs, youth and women’s empowerment, climate change, and art.

She is now a member of the Libyan Youth Climate Movement LYCM and intern in project Silphium. She is a blogger and writes for different domains and magazines, including sister-hood Magazine, Climate Tracker, Libya’s Herald, Libyan Express, Ascend magazine, and Libya investment. She is an advocate for women’s empowerment, education, and climate change.

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