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Omar Kurdi  Guest columnist Omar Kurdi is a 25 year old graduate student at Cleveland State University pursuing a Master's Degree in Mass Communications. He's the Assistant Executive Director/Communications Coordinator for an Adult Day Services center...

Road to success begins with believing in yourself: Omar Kurdi

Omar Kurdi  Guest columnist Omar Kurdi is a 25 year old graduate student at Cleveland State University pursuing a Master's Degree in Mass Communications. He's the Assistant Executive Director/Communications Coordinator for an Adult Day Services center...

Road to success begins with believing in yourself: Omar Kurdi
Omar Kurdi 

Guest columnist Omar Kurdi is a 25 year old graduate student at Cleveland State University pursuing a Master's Degree in Mass Communications. He's the Assistant Executive Director/Communications Coordinator for an Adult Day Services center in Cleveland.

My name is Omar Kurdi. I'm 25 years old, and I live in Cleveland. I come from an ethnically mixed family.


I was born in San Francisco in 1990, raised in Middle East then moved to Cleveland in 2007. My parents got divorced in 2005, and that was the turning point of my life. That was when I decided to hide my parents' divorce from everybody because I felt ashamed, disgraced and disgusted. We went through tough times in Jordan, but thankfully we survived.


I moved to Cleveland in 2007. I didn't want to move and leave my childhood friends in Jordan, but I'm happy I did. My decision to move to Cleveland turned out to be the best decision of my life. I got a good education here, met many friends, and started shaping my life to becoming a better American yet global citizen.

Why am I writing this? Because at some point, I thought I was weak, and wished I could just die and rest because I thought I had nothing else to do but cry. Because I thought I had nowhere else to go. But I was able to find light despite the darkness that surrounded me. I was that light and I helped myself. You can help yourself too. You need to represent you. You're not your family, you're not your faith, and you're not your race. YOU ARE YOU! Be you.

Whatever happens in your life or with your family doesn't and shouldn't determine how you're supposed to live your life.

At the age of 20 I became the President of my university's Arab Student Union and became the Student Government's Director of Public Relation. By the age of 21, I had met President Barack Obama four times. At the age of 24, I met the King of Jordan and appeared on a morning TV show to speak about being a young Muslim in America.

I was invited to attend a leadership conference with Presidential candidates. I worked with a great group of people on a super successful fundraiser for Syrian refugees raising $4,200 and a truck full of donations.

Today at the age of 25, I am a published columnist. I am asked to speak at events and I'm regarded for being nobody but myself. I have an amazing job helping individuals with developmental disabilities. I have wonderful friends that helped me through everything. And I have my family.

If you've experienced loss in your life, you may settle for the loss, and remain in awe for what happened. Or you may accept the loss, work hard and leave the world in awe in how you made it. Be somebody who wants to make it. I see my future live streaming, and I'm not fast-forwarding because I want to enjoy the moments in the making. Struggles make us. We don't make them.

Get up, look in the mirror, and ask yourself: Am I worth it? Your answer should determine what kind of a person you are. Get up. You've got to be you now.

Readers are invited to submit Opinion page essays on topics of regional or general interest. Send your 500-word essay for consideration to Linda Kinsey at lkinsey@cleveland.com. Essays must also include a brief bio and headshot of the writer. Essays rebutting today's topics are also welcome.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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