Noshin Ahmed

Sun Jul 12 2020 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

44024NAh

“It’s strange that at 23 years old, I’m already experiencing a somewhat quarter-life crisis. As the eldest daughter in a Bengali-Muslim household, there is pressure to achieve my goals in a short time. Since college graduation, everyone has asked me ‘so what’s next?’. As a joke, I answer ‘it’s a surprise’ because truthfully, I don’t know what my next step is. It took me 5 years to finish undergrad because I struggled with anxiety and depression. I felt so burnt-out and exhausted after graduating that I just wanted a break before jumping back into the real, stressful world.

I don’t have the guts to tell my parents the truth about why I’ve delayed progress. Their generation doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a break. For them, it’s always been about survival. Many of us, fortunately, do have the option of figuring life out.

I don’t want to let my family down. Seeing how my family built themselves a stable life pushes me to persevere. My maternal grandfather was a Superintendent Police (SP) in Bangladesh and had many responsibilities during the Liberation War. My maternal grandmother was a housewife and tended to all 7, now 6, of her children. They were feminists and advocates for education- strong-headed, calm, and fierce. My grandfather believed in the strength of women and lifted his daughters. “If there is a time you have nothing, you will have your education. The vast knowledge you acquire will set your lives forward. They can never take your education from you.”

My grandparents always welcomed people with open arms and provided food, clothes, a roof over their heads, and unconditional love. When my grandparents passed, they left behind a loving and pure legacy. One that I choose to carry on in their honor.

One way I carry on this legacy is by acting as the Outreach Manager of the Bangladesh Development Project (@bd.development), a nonprofit that combats issues that plague Bangladesh. If my grandparents were alive, I know they’d be happy about how deeply I appreciate my roots and wish to help our people in the same way they have.”