We were like those who had climbed a mountain and reached the top. When we looked down we still wanted to go higher to realize our goals. Despite all the achievements, we still have an ambition for more. That is my way of looking at things. These aren’t my words; they are the words of the great leader, our father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan AlNahyan, may peace be upon him, that have actually inspired me all through the way and throughout our journey.
Noise filled the hall as the crowd cheered and applauded, praising many great scientific accomplishments. I suddenly heard Dubai’s name echo and rise amid the loud cheers and claps. I soon lost the sense of time and flew back two years ago where it had all started. Asking questions, solving problems, finding solutions and forming hypotheses regarding what was going on in our own backyard. That was the first lesson we learned, ‘The Scientific Method’. At the time we didn’t get it. We wondered why it was so important, why it had to be frequent and an everyday thing. Little did we know, without it we wouldn’t have come to where we are today.
When we first started to brainstorm we had no idea where this project would take us. By the time we’ve completed our Science Fair project we were satisfied with where we’ve reached, we hadn’t realized how much more we were capable of, how little we have had attained. We were our own enemy as we drew our limits, restrained our possibilities and chained the opportunities. The world was offering us so much more than we thought we were prepared to tolerate.
Our friends’ cheering, as we stood on stage alongside the rest of the winners, led my mind to be brought back to the present. The people we have experienced the journey with were standing, celebrating our success. I saw the joy and pride in their eyes, just like I once saw faith and support in the eyes of the very people that made the whole experience worthwhile. They are the ones that believed in us and saw the potential we didn’t know we held within. They are the ones that revealed to us the truth behind the limits we defined ourselves by.
Every time we were about to fall, every time we thought we couldn’t handle it anymore, they were there to help us regain our strength, stand up and continue the walk. Every time we considered giving up, every time we considered throwing it all away, they were there to reassure us that we have what it takes to keep moving, that we are capable, and that we are strong. They were always there to remind us of our passion and how it’s much stronger than all the obstacles we could ever face. Our loving friends and dear families, as well as our supportive mentor, were always there to remind us of our dream to achieve and our desire to succeed.
They are the ones who taught me that success isn’t what many people envision it to be. Instead, it is the bits and pieces you pick up along the way. It is the effort you put into something, the time you spend creating, and the skills you develop as you go. It is what inspires you and whom you inspire as you pass by. It is the long nights, restless days and the many trials that go wrong before they go right.
Every moment of the journey is an achievement. Yet the greatest of all achievements, I believe, is the moment we brought the United Arab Emirates the victory it deserves, as we received the second grand award in the category of Environmental Sciences in the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, the Intel ISEF. The moment we proved to the youth of our society that there is a place for them out there among global leaders and scientists, and the moment we proved to them that they can do it, because if we can, so can they.
The journey does not stop here; in fact, success is a never-ending journey, and to us it has just begun. It is our mission to inspire the youth and the younger generations to take the lead in achieving their goals and obtaining their dreams. It is our honor to be a part of the legacy of our incredible leader Sheikh Zayed AlNahyan, and to support and encourage our generation to carry on the march.