'Strive hard to achieve more!'
by Sanil Ajwani
This is an extract of the speech kindly given by Sanil at the Diwali Function 2012.
I’m Sanil Ajwani and I’m a surgical doctor that works in Manchester, and I’ve been asked to give the introduction to the education awards today and give a brief talk about my career and progress through education.
I am Honoured and grateful for the invitation. I am a little nervous and this is certainly out my comfort zone. This is because of several reasons! The very things I think as doctor I took away from my education, and hopefully may help with yours.
“Caring for each other, achieving excellence” This is the reason why I agreed to speak today, I think this describes why Baladia as a gaam has progressed so exponentially over the years, the gaam community and ethos cultivates this into us; the air of helping each other, contributing to society and an awareness of moral sensibility. The community in our gaam I believe cultivates talents be they academic, athletic, or artistic and also instilled into me and others that are from Baladia, a sense of everyone is special and we all have help along the way.
If you receive help, you have a responsibility to give back. I hope that those words also remain with the youngsters whose success we celebrate this evening. I hope you all continue to help each other and society as a whole and that someday some of you come back in ten years time and give the talk to the next generation of young Baladians.
The second thing I think I’ve learned is: nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks…. People in my life have said “have something to fall back on”, or “this maybe a bit too hard, set your sights lower”. Throughout school and as a doctor, I’ve learned to take small steps, small risks to accept failures and to try again.
Every single one of you has something that you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide. And no matter what you want to do with your life, I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it.
If you want to be a lawyer or a teacher or a police officer, you want to be a doctor, an architect, an inventor or scientist, you're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents and your skills and your intellect so you can help us old folks solve our most difficult problems. Who will build my new i-phone, who will develop the next energy technology? Who’s going to come up with the cures for cancer and diseases unless the young people in the audience don’t take responsibility for their education and work at succeeding?
The truth is I think being successful is hard. You won't love every subject that you study. You won't click with every teacher that you have. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right at this minute. And you won't necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
So if you get into trouble, that doesn't mean you're a troublemaker. It means you need to try harder to act right. If you get a bad grade, that doesn't mean you're stupid. It just means you need to spend more time studying.
In my own case, I remember one particular time when I told a teacher that I wanted to be a doctor! I wasn’t the smartest, I wasn’t the most gifted at sports and I was probably below average academically and my behavioural record and punctuality where far from exemplary. When I told this teacher what I wanted to do, she pushed me hard! I sat a test in her class and I got the top mark!!! (Probably the first and last time that’s happened!). She was as surprised as I was! She thought if I could do it once I could do it again!! She encouraged me to work harder, to try more, and to give it my all. She would come into classes that weren’t her own and would tell me off for messing about; she made me change my punctuality from 147 lates to considerably less the following year. She helped me to work hard!
Work ethic stayed with me throughout med school, and as a surgeon you constantly learn, and hone your skills, the hours are long and the job isn't as glamorous as people think, when you’re up in the middle of the night, while the rest of the world sleeps. But the results of your work are rewarding and you will never be unemployed.
No one's born being good at all things. You become good at things through hard work. You're not a professional athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don't hit every note the first time you play the piano. You've got to practice.
The same principle applies to your education. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right. You might have to read something a few times before you understand it. You definitely have to do a few drafts of a paper before its good enough to hand in.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength, because it shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something and that, then, allows you to learn something new.
And even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you, don't ever give up on yourself.
The success story of Baladia isn't about people who quit when things got tough. It's about people who kept going, who tried harder, and who loved their homes and families too much to do anything less than their best.
The key to achieving something you want is you need to do something you’ve never done before. Work hard, never be discouraged, and give it everything you got. I would encourage you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.