by: Maroi Ech-Charkaouy
On the 16th of August 2017, I received an email from Aya Chebbi, whom I admired her work and activism for quite some time, stating that I have been shortlisted for the Y-Phem mentorship program. I got so excited because I needed this program; I came across it when Aya posted it on her page, and when I read the description of the program:
I felt like I needed this program because I was in a bad space; I just graduated recently, was not sure of what to do next, and was feeling down because of all of the stress that I endured throughout my studies, and so on and on. So I applied and got accepted.
I knew at first that the program will be as a form of mentorship to learn new things and gain some experiences from Aya, but I did not know at the beginning how it will eventually change my life.
So the program started in September, Aya sent us a long email containing a monthly assignment along with mediation sessions to help us through the month. I started answering the assignment which was in a form of a “Purpose Model”, and to be honest, I felt all sort of feelings while filling it out.
Questions about “What am I good at? Future, my superpowers…” I had tough times filling them out, and I realized that I seriously need to work on myself and figure out who I really am, what I want, and what I need to do in the future.
I mean, I had ideas but they were all over the place… Then it was time to have a Skype call with the mentor, and hell I made that hour all about whining, though Aya was very understanding and offered me some tools and methods to help me focus on myself and what I need to do/be.
I decided to grab this chance and follow the tips Aya gave me while working on new monthly assignments and listening daily to the meditation sessions, which were helpful in calming me down and relaxing mentally and physically.
So I started changing myself to a better version step by step, one of the main things that I needed to change was to focus on my health and well-being; before I started the program I was a big fan of sleeping, spending my time reading or watching series in bed while eating bunch of unhealthy snacks, and working on some projects until last minute; which did not help my mental health at all, also, if I needed to go out I would use taxis or ask my father or brother to drive me; PS: I don’t have time for driving lessons –I can do this later, and I would hardly walk even if the distance was close.
All of this made me lazy and under a lot of stress because of the last minute’s work. I took the decision to start going to the gym so as to become more physically active and drop my lazy routine. While writing this; it has been 2 months that I go to the gym daily (unless if I am traveling or something urgent popped out), I got back to swimming as well; it is my favorite sport. Guess what, now I can walk more than 2 hours and feel at ease.
The next part of improving myself consisted of deciding what to do next, this part took me a while to figure it out; taking into consideration Aya’s advice and suggestions, and because of my love for blogging and my translation studies; I decided to start a new blog in which I will tackle the issues, achievements, and lives of women/girls in the MENA region; I decided to narrow down my target to the MENA region after my discussion with the amazing expert Marion Osieyo who shared multiple tips on blogging with me. Now, I am in the process of launching my new blog. Additionally, I will start my own translation business soon.
One more thing to add, I wanted to gain a lot from the program, by that I mean I had the chance to be mentored by an amazing activist and leader, all I needed was to focus and work on myself in order to benefit from the mentorship. Along with committing to the physical activities, which are helping me commit to my new active self, and working on the blog, I decided that I should also start learning a new language; now I am learning Spanish.
If it wasn’t for this program I would have still been lazy, depressed and lacking energy, now I am an energetic active person who is full of determination.