Hey gal, this is me… My name is Maha (also known as “Mimi”). I am 23 years old and I just completed my Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) and officially registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). I am currently commencing my Masters of Management and awaiting my nursing contract to kick off in May this year.

If I were to describe myself in three words… Loud, crazy and (super) ambitious.

I always blow my pay-check on… Online shopping, pampering sessions, makeup, good food and adventures.

So, what is my story… After living through three traumatising years in war-torn Iraq, my family and I fled our home county and went to Syria. Without the right to work in Syria, we had to apply for refuge through the United Nations; a daunting, intrusive and long process. After sending endless amounts of documents, attending interviews and answering deeply personal questions, we were granted entry to Australia on humanitarian visas in 2009. Accepting refuge in Australia meant that we could never visit our home county of Iraq again. Though this was challenging, my parents and I knew what we signed up for and were so happy to be able to sleep at night without worrying about being kidnapped, killed, stabbed or bombed. We decided from the minute we landed in Australia that we would be committed to making a difference by working and studying hard to payback the country that’s taken us in. I am an older sister to two brothers and the three of us had to learn English from scratch.

As teenagers, blending in and making friends without the ability to communicate was extremely difficult. But we all worked hard and were determined to succeed. I am now moving on to my postgraduate studies and both of my brothers are finishing their undergraduate degrees. My family couldn’t be more proud. 

And she is a fantastic teacher!

Recently I… Have realised that in order for me to live a fulfilling life, I need to be satisfied with the choices I have made. Yes I have changed my mind about work or studies a hundred times, but it’s all part of learning more about who I am and what I’m best at! Work and studies are meant to be fun: imagine waking up in the morning looking forward to your classes or work environment! Or at the end of the day, you want to stick around a little while longer; trust me, that’s when you’ll know you are where you’re meant be. As a result, I have decided to speak about my journey and motivate others in my community to do the same. To have the same, “experience everything” motto. That’s what my poster at the University of Sydney says! It is only through these different experiences that you’ll discover your strengths and weaknesses.

I came to this realisation because… My family have always encouraged me to pursue my goals and make my dreams reality.

And p.s I am thinking of…  Officially documenting our journey in a book, so that it hopefully inspires people who read it.

What I love about it… Writing draws on my strengths and weakness. It highlights the struggles I have endured and strategies that I followed. It also allows me to acknowledge sources of inspiration in my life; whether this is family, friends, work colleagues, managers, war or schooling.

What I don’t love about it … How I have to think back to difficult times, the hurdles we had to overcome and try to formulate it in a way that is beneficial to the reader.

And knows how to have a good time.. 🙂

What I’ve learned from the experience… That if I set my mind to it and stay determined, I can achieve anything. I’ve also learned how important it is to thank anyone who contributed and helped me get where I am today.

My advice to anyone pursuing this pathway is… Do not put too much pressure on yourself. Set realistic timeframes for each goal and do not forget to reward yourself when you achieve something (even something small!).

I’m passionate about… Improving the health care system, health projects, assisting refugees and asylum seekers and helping the homeless.

Most people don’t know this about me, but… I have a tragus piercing, I love sorbet- dairy free- gelato (especially tropical flavours) and I am really selective about my coffee (I have it custom made).

In 5 years time I’ll be… A successful nurse, running my own business (still figuring this part out), have my own family and have travelled to at least 5 countries!

P.s all academic (or other) modelling enquiries plz send to ENID 😉