Convincing my mother that I wanted to study journalism was a challenge, to say the least.

“How do you know you’ll get a job?”

“Isn’t that the industry that demonises people like you on a daily basis?”

“By the way… if you want to study nursing, you can find a job in a hospital easily. Just saying.”

Actually, my mum wasn’t too bad, compared to what my uncle had to say in a funny manner: “Journalism? So you’ll be flying to war-torn countries to report? How brave!”

Funnily enough, studying journalism wasn’t just about news-writing. That was just one module. During my three years at university, we created videos, blogs and had to come up with a very unique niche for a magazine. Then we had to think of a name for it and fill it up with articles and hand it in as an assignment – all within a short semester. It was hard, as we had to balance doing practical work with writing essays, but it was fun.

Now I’m delving into Marketing. In my final year at university, I specialised in Online Media, where we learned about the digital world and how information is so fast-paced, with the help of social media and mobile phones. My job now involves writing a lot of product descriptions, SEO, managing social media, and blogging.

I won’t lie to you when I say a lot of my family members found it weird that I wasn’t studying nursing or anything health-related. Just looking around my lecture hall said a lot. I was the only Somali female on my journalism course, which kind of sucked. All in all, I would’ve loved to speak to Somalis who are excelling in different professions when I was growing up. It would’ve been great to have events where young Somalis can speak to professional Somalis in some sort of … Careers Fair…?

Let’s fast forward to May 5th, 2018.

The Somali Careers Fair – Leicester, UK

I was invited to attend a Careers Fair on May 5th, where a large variety of Somali professionals were able to inspire and motivate youngsters. It was located in the huge sports hall in Moat Community College. At first, I was terrified of going. Am I even qualified enough to talk to people? What if I just don’t know what to say? What if no one approaches my table? What if I just stay in bed and avoid any kind of socialising? I still went though.

As I walked into the hall, I looked around to see all the career stalls for different professions. There were definitely over 20 different fields taped on the walls. I saw a Cyber Security section, Design, Journalism, Teaching, Optometry, Occupational Therapy, Architecture and much more. I was representing the Marketing field, which was right under the Business section.

Remember that time when you were just leaving school and you were confused about where you wanted to go in life? I’d like to describe that stage as a tug war: you’re stuck in the middle and you’ve got your unknown passion on one side and your parents on the other, pulling you from one side to the other. I met a lot of young Somalis who were at that confusing stage in their lives. Many came with their parents and some walked around the hall with their friends. A young girl told me how surprised she was at all the different professions Somalis were getting into.

There was also a business workshop and a separate panel for parental discussions on how to support their kids in education. It was such an inspiring event and it made me think about how awesome it would’ve been to have events like this when I was growing up. To be able to have role models and think: “If they can do it, so can I!”

That’s why I was glad I went to that fair because even though I didn’t get to attend events like this as a teenager, it was such an honour to be one of the professionals that inspired the next generation.