Wasim Hajjiri's Rady School Journey
September 2013 was the month that changed my life.
I had just graduated with an electrical engineering degree from the Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Jordan. To celebrate I went with my cousin to New York City for a short vacation.
Big tall buildings, noisy streets, and people everywhere – it was crazy! We toured all around the city and saw Central Park, the Empire State Building and Times Square. It was quite an adventure and we had a great time.
A week later my father calls me and asks,“Wasim, what’s your dream? What do you want to do in the future?”
“I have no idea what I want to do with my life,” I answered.
After a long conversation, he encouraged me to stay in the United States, “the land of opportunities.” I had 13 pounds of luggage, no job, plan, family or friends, and zero U.S. experience. I didn’t even have a driver’s license!
Several days later after thinking about it, he was absolutely right. I made the biggest decision that I ever had to make in my life by canceling my flight home to Jordan and booking a one-way ticket to San Diego, California!
I built a new life from scratch and it was very challenging, but I only focused on the opportunities here and envisioned three big dreams:
- Get an engineering job at Qualcomm
- Get accepted into the MBA program at the Rady School
- Win a gold medal at the Olympia competition ( The Olympics of fitness)
When I told people about my plans they laughed and told me it is impossible. Here I am three and a half years later – and I am able to say that I have managed to accomplish my dreams.
In my journey, I stumbled upon many obstacles and failures, and faced rejection hundreds of times. During this period, my father passed away, which was the most difficult situation I’ve ever dealt with.
Throughout my journey, I learned many things, took notes and did a lot of research along the way. A few months ago I decided to turn all of it into a book: (Wasim The Dream, An Immigrant’s Journey From The Bottom To The Top) which I am working on with my publishing coach thanks to Linda Kurtz, the career advisor at the Rady School.
My main purpose is to inspire people from all over the world to go after their dreams and show them tools and strategies needed to get there, even if you moved to a new country and started a new life from scratch.
I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish my dreams through hardwork and dedication. I worked for Qualcomm, got accepted into the Rady School of Management and I qualified to become a professional athlete. In June 2017, I will be traveling with team USA to Italy to compete in the World Championships against 600 top athletes from all over the world.
Just because I accomplished my goals doesn’t mean I can rest on my laurels – it means that I’ve set new goals! My new dreams right now are:
- For my book to be a New York Times Bestseller
- To win two more gold medals at the Olympia
- To become a professional speaker
My book is written to help encourage readers to go after their dreams by providing guidance and solutions to common life problems, including finding motivation, seeking new opportunities and steps to create change. Many of the lessons in the book were inspired by things I learned during my time at the Rady School of Management through my courses, interactions with professors and conversations with fellow students.
I got so much help from Rady classmates, professors, students from other cohorts and I am beyond grateful to be part of this amazing program. I will develop the book and other service packages into a consulting business and work on the details in the Lab to market and StartR programs. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with others!