We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofMustafa Siddiqui

When I was living in Pakistan, it was tough because the education was not good. There were issues with crime and a lack of resources for all. My family was always worried about the large amount of  robberies that took place, and they were scared for our safety. It was for those reasons that my family wanted to come to the United States. My mom and dad had made plans for years for us to join our family that had come long before us. Before I left for the United States, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be treated well in America. I knew that after 9/11, some Americans weren’t treating Muslims well, and that made me scared. I had no idea what my new life had in store for me.  I came to the United States from Pakistan in November of 2016. When I started high school, I was so nervous and scared because I had never seen a white person in my life. That was a difficult challenge for me. I was meet- ing with white people, and I had some language issues and couldn’t speak English fluently.  A year after I arrived, my junior year of high school, life started to change for me. I got my first job and started making new friends and communicating with new people. Things were changing for me. I began participating in school activities and teachers helped me a lot to make new friends. I changed my opinions and views about American people. At first, I thought all Americans didn’t like other races of people. Then, when I came here, I changed my thoughts and found all people are very helpful and nice to everyone.  When I started school in the United States, I had to adjust myself in order to understand and work with other people. That was a big task for me. I met with my teachers, and they were very nice to me. They always helped me in different situations. If you ask them where your classroom is, they will tell you. If you are not doing well in your class, then you stay after school and they will help. I am very thankful to all my teachers.  In my freshman year, I had only one friend. He was my first white friend. I found that we had a good time together. He always gave me good advice about my studies and now I can say he is one of my best friends. After meet- ing him, I met another friend from Uzbekistan. When I was living in Pakistan, I never thought that I would have friends from Serbia and Uzbekistan. It was then that I realized it didn’t matter what color people were or where they came from.  Now I am a senior and I have made more and more friends during my time in high school. I have met so many teachers and friends in high school who gave me good advice on grades, life, and all other problems that teenagers face. I even participated in a school event that is called Multicultural Night. It was there that I saw different cultures and met with old and new friends. It was a good time to hang out with them.  In my life there have been people who have doubted me. I have had to en- courage myself and believe that I can do anything. Every time I think I can’t achieve something, I find a way to do more, to practice and get advice about where I need to be. Whenever I am nervous, I just try to relax myself and find ways to solve my problems and overcome my challenges. 

© Mustafa Siddiqui. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.