Mohammed’s time at Nebraska allowed her to Start Something.
Hawra Mohammed journeyed more than 7,000 miles from her home in Muscat, Oman, to Lincoln, Nebraska, to learn the family business of accounting. However, moving far away from home went beyond academics, she sought self-reliance.
Her path to independence began her freshman year when one of her roommates taught her how to cook. Learning that skill motivated her to get her driver’s license. The following year she lived with an American host family, which improved her English and yielded better insight on what day-to-day life is like in the U.S.
“When you come from a home where you were living with your family to a different country, you face everything by yourself. Living with a host family helped me transition into learning how to do a lot of things on my own,” she said.
With her desire to be more active at the university, Mohammed searched for on-campus jobs immediately after she noticed other international students working on campus. Despite her excitement to apply, she never received any callbacks. Thinking it was due to her cultural background, Mohammed’s hope of finding a job diminished.
During her Investing in Strengths (BSAD 111) course, she realized her error during the job process: she hadn’t included a résumé. Recalculating her plan, she made an appointment with the Business Career Center (BCC) for help creating one. With guidance and interview preparation from the BCC career coaches, Mohammed’s confidence grew and she used it to capitalize on many opportunities.
Her involvement on campus steadily increased and she prospered in the International Business Medallion Program where she engaged in activities building soft skills like interpersonal communication and critical thinking. Mohammed even acquired a spot on the welcome team at New Student Enrollment, sharing her experiences and helping freshman acclimate to Nebraska. Just as those students looked to her for advice, Mohammed fondly recalled whom she turned to in her times of need, Erika Hepburn, the global initiatives officer in the Office of Global Strategies.
“Erika helped connect me with my host family and has been tremendously helpful whenever I applied for jobs, writing beautifully written letters of recommendation,” remarked Mohammed.
Hepburn now sees Mohammed less frequently in her office seeking advice and more around campus engaged in different events.
“Hawra is a fiery and driven individual, who grew up a lot over the past few years. Now she takes initiative and is extremely proactive in seeking out new opportunities. You can tell she is thriving and in her element,” said Hepburn. “It took her awhile to find her place, but because she was willing to be persistent, take risks, face her fears and not let perceived failures get in the way, she has found incredible success.”
Now in her final semester at Nebraska, she has her choice between two job offers in Qatar, a country not far from her home in Oman. With her résumé now abundant with skills and experience, along with the many connections she made at Nebraska, Mohammed eagerly awaits her next adventure.
“Everybody has the chance to start something. Even Warren Buffett (’51) started as a student, so give yourself a chance. If you feel shy visiting your professors or making friends, or even working at a job, try to find a mentor and really learn from their experiences in time you are here. It is never too late to develop yourself,” said Mohammed.
Published: February 12, 2019