Spelling the word “can”

By Habib Rezaie

We publish here our colleague Habib Rezaie’s thought of the day on BBC Radio Leicester (from 40’41”), as part of the pop-up internet radio station Sanctuary Radio (#sanctuaryradio)


In September I will start my final year on the IT for Business degree course at De Montfort University, here in Leicester. For me, coming from Afghanistan, a country that was destroyed by war, it was a dream that I would go to University. I lost my family when I was a small child and I had never had the opportunity to go to school.

7 years ago when I arrived in the UK I had my first chance to go to college to study. I could not write anything at all, not even A,B,C, but I was passionate to learn.

It was a very difficult time for me as I did not know if I would be allowed to stay in the UK or if I would be returned to a warzone. It was hard to think about anything else as I was very worried but I was determined to get an education.

I was studying so hard to learn how to write and read. Education moves you forward with your life and the beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.

One day one of my close Afghan friends asked me ‘why do you study that hard?’ and I said ‘I’d like to go to university’. He just laughed and said ‘No you CAN’T, we don’t have the brains for it and even you, you cannot even spell the word “can”’.

This upset me but then it became the most powerful motivation speech that I have ever had. Because when they told me I couldn’t do it, this made me work even harder to prove them wrong and to show them that they were mistaken.

I believed in myself and this is really important. University is a great environment with like minded people from around the world. This has had a positive effect on my life.

The word “can’t” will stop you, will slow you down, turn you away from your dream, cause you to move backwards if you let it. But if you have the proper mindset it can make you stronger when you overcome it.

I have learned that some things don’t come easy and it will take time to achieve your dreams, but if you think positive you can.

Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Because you can!

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