Thursday 24 September, 2020

Heartbroken after losing her dad, Tricia perseveres; Her Masters next!

Tricia Mohammed

Tricia Mohammed

Perseverance is one of the best words anyone could use to describe Tricia Mohammed.

Pushing past heartache after losing her father, Tricia is now the first university graduate in her family and is set to pursue her Masters next.

At 21 years old, the Trinidadian who completed her BSc. International Relations (Special) with a Minor in Political Science at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine last semester is set to take on Mediation in her next chapter.

For very few university is a breeze, and for Tricia is was anything but.

People say the start matters, but in this story, how she finished, her strong end is what matters more.

Loop Lifestyle chatted with the recent UWI graduate about her experience and how she thinks her dad would feel now that she has earned her degree.

Loop: How does it feel to have graduated?

Tricia: It is surreal, I feel like I’m still in complete shock and disbelief. I’ve been anticipating this day since the start of the year and it’s finally here.

Loop: What was the hardest course during your studies and why?

Tricia: I had two economics courses in my first year and I had never done anything remotely close to it lol. I had to work twice as hard to fully grasp the content because my background before was solely modern studies which involved the literatures etc. It was a huge wake up call that university was unlike anything else I had experienced so I had to readjust and quickly. I absolutely disliked it and I still do lol

Loop: At any point in time during the years of study, did you think maybe this is not for me? If yes, when and how did you overcome it? If no, what kept you motivated?

Tricia: I originally wanted to do law but I didn’t get in at UWISTA because my dad passed away three months before my second leg of CAPE exams which made my performance drop. International relations was my second option and everything seemed to be going wrong, I hated it, not because it was difficult, but because I felt like I needed to something I was passionate about. I eventually convinced myself that I had to suck it up and give it my best shot because that’s what my dad would have wanted and that’s what I was taught to do growing up – put your best foot forward in spite of everything else going on.

Loop: What was your support system like through it all?

Tricia: Well as mentioned before, my dad passed away right before I started University, which left my mum, sister and I in complete shock and we were left to pick up the pieces of that loss. Having both of them there to cheer me on and pick me up on my horrible days because of endless assignments and exams really helped me to get through this degree, without them I would be nothing. My friends from high school and those I made at university also aided me in any way that they could, whether it be in the form of a phone call filled with laughs or giving me lecture notes and exam hints when they could.

Loop: To people who try to go the distance alone, do you have any advice for him or her?

Tricia: You have to believe in yourself and your abilities, it is very easy to feel isolated and lonely during university and that can consume you which is why it is important to truly believe in yourself because you’re your own biggest supporter at the end of the day. There must be a constant reminder that whatever you’re doing or hoping to accomplish is for you and no one else, that success will be yours at the end of the day because you’ve worked hard and sacrificed for it in ways no one can understand. Continue striving to be the best and do your best, that’s all you can give sometimes and that’s all that is necessary sometimes.

Loop: What lessons did COVID-19 teach you?

Laughing, Tricia: COVID-19 taught my that I hate online exams and classes lol. Just kidding...maybe. This virus spread like wildfire and took control of the world in a matter of months which forced everyone to slow down and live each day as it came and that’s what was hard for me to adjust to. I’m usually very organized and I seem to plan out every moment of my day so this virus taught me to slow down and really appreciate the day and the things that naturally happen throughout it. It also made me appreciate my family and friends more in a way I didn’t even think was possible, socializing and being around other people make me happy so I’ll never take it for granted again.

Loop: Why did you choose International Relations?

Tricia: I chose international relations as a potential option after law because I did Model United Nations in lower 6 and I fell in love with the idea of diplomacy and being able to help others in a capacity that is bigger than ourselves. I want to be able to help anyone in any way that I can and doing my degree showed me that I can in simple and grand ways. I’ve been given the opportunity to learn the inner and outer workings of large organizations like the United Nations because of my degree and it is my hope that I can one day be a part of this organization or any just like it to help the people of the world in any way that they need.

Loop: What do you hope to do next on your journey? How do you intend to put this degree to great use?

Tricia: Come this September I should be attending university again pursuit of a diploma in mediation studies which will then allow me to pursue a masters in mediation studies, I think mediating is a phenomenal way of helping people because I will have the opportunity to reduce arguments and disagreements in any way that I can help. I will be using my degree in international relations to hopefully let me get a foot in the door at any of the global organizations aiming to reduce disharmony amongst countries like the United Nations. My hope is that these two loves of mine, international relations and mediating can work in tandem in order for me to achieve my dream of making the place a fairer and more equitable place for everyone.

Loop: How does it feel to be the first uni grad in your family?

Tricia: I feel proud and I feel like I did it for my family, this is not only my success but theirs in a big way, without them it wouldn’t be possible so this for them in every way. I cannot believe that I did this and I know they are proud of me and my accomplishments, it is somewhat bittersweet because my dad isn’t here to rejoice with us but I know he would have been proud of me and that gives me comfort.

Loop: To anyone who feels as though the odds are stacked against them, what is your advice to them?

Tricia: Keep pushing and working hard for it – whatever it is, that degree, or that A in your exam or even that job. That doesn’t mean giving your all everyday because that is difficult to do sometimes, but doing something everyday in order to get you closer to your goal is enough. Self – belief, a good support system, set goals and hard work will go a long way. It is easy to feel like you can’t do it anymore and it is easier to just give up, but if you really want something, you’ll work hard for it no matter what obstacles are in your way.

And no surprise, after this interview Tricia got the great news that she has gotten into the Masters programme of her choice! 

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