What makes me ICONIC?
You might take one look at me and see a typical over-achieving, smarty pants. You wouldn’t be too far off. Last year as a junior I took five AP classes and this year, I have a full plate again including AP calculus. The class will be virtual, so I’m a little nervous about how that will go but I have worked too hard to slow down now. Most of my extracurricular activities are also academically inclined. Perhaps most revealing about my intellectual interests is that I am on my school’s debate team. Last summer, I even chose to attend a rigorous debate camp for several weeks at Dartmouth College during the summer so that I could get a head start on the debate competition in the fall. School, in the summer, on purpose. Yup, I am a smarty pants.
But one glance is a missed opportunity to see all the different layers that make me who I truly am. Yes I care about school, but there is so much more to me. For instance, I have a passion for gardening and spent my quarantine time at home tending to my family’s grow boxes. This summer I even worked as a junior arborist. But, that’s just scratching the surface.
Sometimes I can come across as shy and almost hidden behind my hijab, but the truth is, I get so much strength from my family and Pakistani culture. That’s why in dreaming about the superhero version of myself, I see a prominently featured hijab as part of my armor. I find desi clothes beautiful and love wearing traditional clothing like what was worn during the revolution against the British in what was India. My superhero persona is inspired by one of my favorite old Pakistani TV show characters, Gulzar from Alpha Bravo Charlie. His character is mild-mannered and humble. Most of all, he embodies so much of who I aspire to be because he never gives up, not even when facing death.
Not everyone sees me as the powerful superhero I know I am, and that’s okay. That’s because my superhero power is to be cool, calm and collected under pressure. When things get tough, I get tougher.