Keep educated – No matter how cruel life gets

If the past five years of war have proven anything good at all, it is the saying that

“what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

It is true that the brutality of war bit into our souls, crushed our dreams, and stripped our lives of all means of happiness, but it also has taught us tons of things that shape who we are right now. We’ve been taught, by the ugliest ways, that even though life is not fair you cannot surrender. And we won’t surrender. We have made the decision to hold up to our dreams, and to keep fighting for a brighter future, no matter how cruel our life gets.

As Syrian youth, we are very aware of the importance of education. We know that at a workplace there are no excuses. We know that no one will hire us if we are not well-educated and fully trained. It’s not easy to maintain a quality education under a war-torn sky. However, we are creating opportunities, digging for knowledge the way workers dig for gold. We know we will reach our goals one day. We want to keep reminding ourselves, and to remind the world, that no one has an excuse for being uneducated. If we are managing to get by, you too can get by.

We believe in the power of words. So, we are sending a message through this TED talk and we deeply hope that it reaches as many Syrian and non-Syrian students as possible. Here is the link for the talk:

About the author:

Tarek Turk, 6th year medical student in a six-year program at Damascus University, Syria. I have always seen myself as a clinician and a researcher, and have worked hard my entire life to achieve this goal. I believe that we were not meant to pass from this life without leaving a trace, and I decided to leave a trace in science. I have major interests in knowledge synthesis, Evidence-based healthcare, and linking medicine to artificial intelligence. Tarek may be reached at

Guest Authors Initiative:

The IIT Syrian student blog welcomes guest contributions from university students from Syria and around the globe.  To learn more about the Guest Authors Initiative, please contact Suhaib at 

Suhaib was born in Kamishli, Syria, and earned his bachelor’s degree in December 2014 from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Armour College of Engineering, with earlier studies at Aleppo University and Damascus University. Suhaib majored in Civil Engineering with a concentration in structural engineering. Upon graduation, he accepted a position as a project engineer working on projects throughout the state of Illinois; he lives in Springfield, Illinois. Suhaib previously worked with Jasmine Baladi Studio, an NGO that works to support Syrian children in refugee camps in Turkey. Suhaib regularly writes for the Syrian Students for a Better Future Blog.

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