“To Be or Not To Be” is one of the most famous phrases of Shakespeare, nay, of all time. I moved to Jordan in 2010, and completed my high school education- which was 11th and 12th grade. When I came to live in Jordan with my grandparents, I was filled with doubt. I was beginning 11th grade, with barely any Arabic to help me. The last time I had been in Jordan for a full year was in 4th grade, and the school I was in had threatened to expel me. As I began the school year I kept thinking about whether I could or couldn’t get good grades, whether I could or couldn’t live without my parents, whether I could or couldn’t become great in Arabic, whether I could or couldn’t etc, etc, etc. This argument with myself never ended, it followed me everywhere. It went on every waking moment I had. As the year went by, I received my answers in different ways, but I didn’t learn anything from my questions.
And so a new year began, the exciting and yet so frightening 12th grade. Twelfth grade in Jordan, and actually in many countries, is a critical one. Students are given seven standardized exams the first semester, and another seven in the second. The entire country studies from the same books and takes the same tests at the same time. Depending on your average is the major you’ll take in college. For example, I knew several people who wanted to become doctors, but because their grade was a tenth underneath the admittance grade (98.5) for that major, they couldn’t get in. This grade determines your future, or so I thought.
The same questions I had in 11th grade came rolling in, and for the first couple of weeks I was depressed, because I was absolutely positive of my failure. I was sure I wasn’t going to get the grade I wanted, nor the life I wanted. Or should I say I wasn’t sure I could get the grade I wanted. But during many of these thought sessions, a.k.a., wasting time, I got an epiphany, and I realized the beauty behind Shakespeare’s most famous quote, “To be or not to be.” He didn’t say, “To be able to be or not to be able to be.” He didn’t say it, because a human can be whatever they want. Unless the laws of nature refuses to let it, such as gravity, death, life, and more. One of the silliest and most overused phrases is “I can’t,” because you can, and if you really want to, you will. What is there that can stop a person from achieving his or her dream? My mother wants to speak Arabic fluently, and can read the Quran perfectly. She is 47 years old and was born in America. She refuses to let her age or money be the thing that stops her from achieving her goals. She has never went through formal schooling in Arabic grammar, yet she is better in Arabic grammar than I am, and I have received some formal education. My father went to America to study, not knowing a word of English 30 years ago. After a lot of struggle and hard work, he even corrects my English.
The purpose of these stories is to convince you and me that there is no such thing such as “I can’t,” and that even if you fail in the beginning, with patience and perseverance you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. Good luck with your goals! And if you want, you will!! So go get that 4.0! Better body! Memorize the Quran! Or whatever it is you want!
You can do whatever you put your mind to; and if you can’t, just remember that there’s a reason for that, too — there’ll be something better. So get to it!