Ambitions: from “Crazy” to Attainable by Olfa Hammami (Tunisia)
On the 25th of June, 2013, my entire life changed. I stepped into another dimension, another form of life. I never knew that filling out an application would allow me to see such amazing things, things I never would have imagined.
During the 3 weeks I spent in the US with TechGirls, I met great people who spread a limitless motivation in my soul. “Believe in yourself!” I was told again and again, a dictum I had heard before but always struggled with. I have always wanted to take big steps and move forward, but I didn’t have enough courage. Sometimes I didn’t even know if I was wrong or right. People used to tell me things like, “You’re kidding, Olfa, you’ll never do it!” and “Your ambitions are nothing but craziness!” After hearing many interesting people from Google, the US Congress, and Legacy International, saying, “Yes, you can do it!” I learned to trust myself and believe that I can realize my ambitions.
When I came back to Tunisia, I was full of energy and willing to take advantage of all opportunities offered to me without the fear I had previously had. Besides the tech skills that I gained through TechGirls, I remember word for word the priceless advice I got from Ms. Diana, Ms. Michele, and Ms. Nadia of the TechGirls staff. “Time is precious,” they said, “Respect it.” “Create a timetable and stick to it!”
Right away, I established a robotics club with my tech teachers. The pupils were very excited about it and curious to learn about robotics. What I like most about it is the teamwork, and working closely with our teachers. I’m so glad I changed something. Before, there was no club and students would only see their teachers in classes. Now we are like a family.
Recently, I participated in Tunirobots and Airoday. These events in Tunisia bring together like-minded people to share robotics projects and new inventions. At another event, Forum Régionale de Culture Informatique, I was asked to assist with a talk about computer science and internet education. I talked about TechGirls and our visits to Google and Microsoft. I talked about taking advantage of all opportunities and how exchange programs can change someone’s life, just like being part of the TechGirls program changed mine. In addition, recently, I was chosen to participate in a 5-day robotics and electronics training session presented by Association Jeunes et Sciences (Teens and Science Association).
Today I’m doing my best to move forward and achieve my biggest dream: making a change and doing something for humanity. I have always wanted to make something special, to create an immortal change that will leave my print on history. While it’s a tough objective, it’s simple, too: putting a smile on someone’s face, helping him or her to get a better life! And why not make an invention that will serve humanity? Nothing is worth more than knowing that you made a small good thing that will benefit others. That’s the best thing—it’s what makes me feel like I truly “exist.” We humans are nothing but a very tiny spot in a huge universe—let’s be a glowing one! Living for ourselves is a good thing but living for others is much better. It’s the stairway to enlightenment.
I am trying my best to combine my passion with my ambition. If you are skeptical about how if robotics can serve people and change their lives, I assure you, it can! It can even give people another form of life—for those who have lost a limb, an artificial arm or leg it can help them to return to their lives again. The robotics field is even creating artificial eyes that give people the blessing of being able to see this awesome universe. These are just some examples of the huge things that the robotics field is doing. When I observe reality and the big developments we’ve been up to, technology is the ultimate cause. Of course, technology has been used for some bad purposes—I will do my best in the future to make sure that we focus on creating beneficial developments rather than destructive ones.
On one of the first days of the TechGirls program, Mr. Rash, the founder of Legacy International, came to speak with us about leadership and universal values. There is one sentence he said that won’t leave my mind; a sentence that functions as a major source of motivation for me; a sentence that I will never forget and always try my best to stick to.
“Never forget who you are and where you came from. Never forget the universal values.”
Mr. Rash is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met and has had a very big influence on me. So even as I think about the globe in its entirety, I shall never forget my country, Tunisia. I have to be loyal to it. It’s where I have lived, gotten an education, and where I have learned the meaning of mercy, toleration, and compassion. I will try my best to serve Tunisia and its people. I’m extremely happy and satisfied with these events and all the amazing people I have met. All of them are leading me to accomplish my goals and to keep learning.