Aim for the skies and keep your feet on the ground

In my life I have been exposed to amazing opportunities and moments which most people rarely get to see. But with the good, you must allow yourself to witness moments which will conversely not be as enjoyable. Last week whilst volunteering for a local MP, I was able to come face to face with situations which were foreign to me. What I didn’t know was that it was this next two weeks would have a profound effect on me as a person. Throughout the placement, I dealt which serious health issues, human rights issues, to simple squabbles between neighbours. Towards the end of my time at the office, I was able to shadow some home visits of local constituents in my area. As I entered the first house in an Asian estate, there was a sombre atmosphere where a young Asian man led us into a small little room. In that room, I met a frail middle-aged woman lying on a broken bed moaning from her pain.

We were told she had suffered a stroke 6 months ago, and she was unable to move, and subsequently she was living in what would be her dining room/kitchen area. Honestly, the scene itself brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t sure if it was her physical state or the living conditions they were in. There was Quran playing in the background, and religious symbols draping the walls around the home. It was humbling to see a family which had been hit with such a personal tragedy, yet their closeness with God was unaffected. As we went on from house to house, the circumstances were similar if not worse. However, it was the patience and the friendliness of the people that shone through. Being an Asian neighbourhood, they were pleased to see a local young Muslim woman partaking in local politics, and so I felt this instantaneous connection which put us on a shared level of understanding regardless of the language barrier. When I finished the visits, I sat in the car feeling upset and remained quiet. I was shocked that this level of local poverty existed in such close proximity to my own home. Coming from a comfortable upbringing, I was always told I was sheltered and unaware of the “real world”. It hit me right then that this was the real world. I looked at my problems, and I felt ashamed to call them problems in comparison to those which others were experiencing.

I felt a sense of disgust at Politicians at the top of the hierarchy who were unaware of the disastrous effect on the people they were supposed to be looking out for. What was more aggravating was that it is the same elite, who come from a specific section of society, who have never come into contact with people such as these in order to truly see the effect of their own political decisions from the roots. There are politicians who work in their field in order to create their own personal brand of superiority and power. On the other hand there are real politicians who carry their people’s interests in their heart, and give a voice to the neglected. They strive to make life better for every section of society. It is so easy for people to become unheard and meaningless. At the same time, it is so easy for those in better standards of living to put our fingers in our ears and brush away the harsh realities those below us are experiencing. I left my work experience coming out with more than just a career benefit. Those two weeks gave me a feeling of thankfulness for everything I had, and a sense of urgency to pursue my career in the political arena in order to do what I can to help people just like the ones I had come across.

What attracts me to politics? Is it the power, the corruption, the salary or the other appealing benefits? No, I grew up believing politics is the where decisions were made to improve people, your area, your nation, and the world. In order to improve in life, you need to aim for the top, yet keep an eye on the bottom. Whether you’re interested in politics, science, or the arts, take yourself out of your comfort zone and take as much out of life as you can, be it good or bad. It is moments like these which will shape who you become as a person.