Before the Amal Fellowship, I had heard about the concept of a safe space, but I had never experienced it. In our society, anything we say or do at home, university, or work, is “judged”. All our ideas and opinions are labeled good or bad. We are always told to be careful of our words. We always have this fear of how our thoughts will be perceived and, so, most of us never muster the courage to express ourselves and spend our lives thinking about what we may be. For those of us, who want to know what we really are and what we can achieve, the safe space that Amal provides is nothing short of intellectual heaven.

The freedom to express ourselves, where there is no wrong has led to discussions in the sessions, that have had a profound impact on me. Specifically, the concept of having a growth mindset, and how growth is achieved by getting out of your comfort zone. I am not a sloth or an idler, I just love to stay where I feel comfortable. However, the discussions at Amal have made me realize that this is the foremost reason I have not realized my full potential, and it is something I will have to overcome to achieve my aspiring goals. As one of favorite motivational speaker, Tony Robbins said: “All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone.”

I do believe that we can change our future by changing our attitude. During this fellowship, I have seen a lot of fellows evolve into a better version of themselves. There used to be very few raised hands in our initial sessions every time Ma’am Yusra or Ma’am Fatima asked a question, at times forcing them to cold-call people. However, this is not the case anymore. Most fellows are now eager to participate and never shy away from a discussion. This is because they see Amal as a place where every idea is encouraged, every opinion is appreciated, every person is a star, and every feedback is constructive.

Looking back at this incredible journey, I am glad that I clicked on “submit” on the last day of application even when I had other thoughts. I remember Ma’am Yusra’s words during the start of the fellowship, that opportunities like these don’t knock on your door every day, but when they do grab them with both hands. I personally think I have got a lot more than I intended from this fellowship, but still, there are a few things I could have done to improve my gains. Foremost of it was spending a bit more time on my PW’s while also completing my Online courses well before the weekend, so I did not have to rush them through at times. I could have also done better at taking notes.

As every great thing has to end at some time, it makes me sad that the time for the Amal fellowship has also come. It feels like returning home from a memorable adventure with friends, where you wish it had lasted a day or two more. However, one must move forward because the struggle of life is never-ending. This journey might have ended, but the memories and lessons will last forever.