Rayan Bahri: My Journey to Becoming a Humble Person

Rayan Bahri has learned that you don’t need much in life to be happy, but that the experiences of seeing the world, being ambitious and having strong parents in your life can make you achieve whatever you wish. In his story he shares what his parents have endured and how his life so far has prepared him for his most honorable moment yet – furthering his education. This story is part of MALA’s scholarship essay contest. To see more scholarship essays, click here.

I cannot express enough how excited I am about the possibility of attending West Virginia University as a student and soccer player. Since the first time I visited the school I have valued the academic, athletic and community life the institution offers. I feel this is an outstanding opportunity for me to grow, develop and prepare me to be successful.

My parents immigrated to the U.S. 32 years ago. They appreciate and cherish living in this country. The opportunities it has to offer are endless. What they left behind is no match for what this country has to offer. Although we still preserve our original culture and the traditions that pertain to their home country, they love living in their adopted country. The journey to get where we are was daunting, it has never been easy; but ultimately, it has rewards. This has compelled me to be a firm believer that with hard work, dedication, perseverance and above all, abiding by the law of the land, success is within reach to anyone with Allah’s will.

My father is the sole provider for our family. As an international flight attendant, he is gone on trips for a period of three-eight days, a total of 15-20 days a month. My mother is a full-time homemaker and volunteers at our younger brother Adam’s middle school. 

We live a frugal simple life in a small town in Chelsea, Michigan. This has enabled us to save as much money as we can, allowing us to live a decent life and be part of the Muslim community. My parents are striving to assist both my brother and me to get to college, which both of them never had a chance to finish.

One thing my parents have never withheld from me, despite how simple of a life we try to lead, is the opportunity to see the world. I had the opportunity to live with my grandparents for six months in Morocco. It was a great learning experience, to be able to communicate with other kids and learn their style of playing in the neighborhood. In the beginning, it was intimidating since there was a language barrier, but it became easier as I learned the language and made friends.

My dad’s job also allowed me to travel and visit several countries such as Greece, Turkey, Japan, Philippine, Morocco, France, Holland and Palestine. Also, I got a chance to see few states in the U.S like Hawaii, California, Florida, Texas, New York, Washington, North Carolina and Ohio.

Throughout these travels I began to see the world around me and looked at it with new eyes. I always thought poverty, greed and injustice happened elsewhere, generally to the people who were unfortunate. But the more I traveled and met new people, the more I began to realize the universal nature of suffering. Further, I became fully aware that happiness comes from within yourself, with self-content, hence there is no perfect world but afterlife.

I will be the first in the family to attend college and hope to later pursue a law degree. I believe attending WVU will prepare me for my future. I have the full support of my parents. I am confident my ambitions both academically and athletically will compel me to excel in the forthcoming endeavor.