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AHMED: My journey through Rockhurst

011_AHMED_RAFAEIndividuals at Rockhurst High School have unique qualities and come from vastly different backgrounds. I am of Pakistani descent and was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

I am Muslim and have found my place in the Rockhurst community in the past three years here. Unfortunately, this was not necessarily true when I first started applying to high schools.

My parents wanted me to go to Blue Valley North, about which I was not particularly excited because all my friends from Notre Dame de Sion Lower were planning on going to Rockhurst.

Making the decision was not particularly easy. I wrote out a list of pros and cons and ran it through my mind countless times. I felt like I would receive a better education at Rockhurst, but the Catholic traditions practiced and taught acted as a deterrent because of my faith. That being said, Blue Valley North did not seem as appealing as Rockhurst.

Ultimately I decided to come to Rockhurst.

My freshman year was possibly the most difficult. I tried coping with the lectures on Jesus, but it was often too much for me to handle. Initially, I decided not to apply myself in those classes because I felt they did not apply to me. I soon came to realize, however, that every class at Rockhurst matters, so I tried to keep an open mind about the new teachings.

On top of theological differences, I had trouble finding my place as a minority. Being a minority I always felt singled out, despite my efforts to reach out and fit in.

One of the five qualities of the grad at grad speaks of being open to growth. I took that to heart and began seeing it my daily activities. I began listening to the ideas and beliefs of others, regardless of how they related to my own.

Once sophomore year rolled around, I began to settle into my place at Rockhurst. As it turned out, my place was the swimming pool, and the swim team became my extended family. With my team for support, I began to build my character and apply it to all areas of my life. I also learned how to build my confidence behind the blocks and in the classroom.

During my Junior year I started to fill roles in Student government as a representative. As I became more involved in school, I began to realize that this involvement was the source of my sensation of belonging. I began to realize that my race and religion didn’t set me apart, necessarily, but lent me valuable perspective in a school like Rockhurst.

My academic education at Rockhurst has been enormously valuable, but perhaps not as valuable as the lessons I have learned about diversity, acceptance and commitment.

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