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Abdi Mohamed: “We came here for education”

Written by
Sabina Haskell

September 23, 2020


Abdi Mohamed

Abdimajiid Mohamed is in search of total bliss when it comes to career planning … among other things.

“Any job that I get up in the morning happy to go to would be great,” he says. “Life’s too short not to be happy.”

For Mohamed, now a student at Trine University in Angola, Indiana, a major in business administration seems like a way toward the bliss. He is interested in real estate or perhaps putting his interest in photography to work in an advertising career.

He’s had help from VSAC’s GEAR UP program, which he joined in middle school.

“It seemed like a great opportunity,” he remarks. “I always had plans to go to college, but

GEAR UP made it possible and easier. They give you advice and assistance with things like books and tuition. They also give you pointers.”

He said one of the best pointers he got from GEAR UP was not to procrastinate.

“That will be the end of your education,” he notes. “It’s important to stay as organized as possible and to be the best person you can be.”

Mohamed said he’s definitely more prepared for college because of GEAR UP—the notebooks and organizers he received from his counselors helped him not to procrastinate, as he had  homework and due dates for exams all in one place in front of him. He urges Vermont students to take advantage of GEAR UP.

“They’re giving you something that a lot of kids don’t get the chance to take advantage of,” he stresses. “That’s also total bliss—not struggling a lot. [VSAC counselors] know what they’re doing. They have been through the education system themselves.


Meet Abdi“As an immigrant, I really appreciate the opportunity,” he adds.

Mohamed was born in Somalia. He and his parents and several of his eight siblings—he’s the fourth oldest—immigrated to Vermont in 2006.

“We came here when I was 6 years old to get away from the war, but also to try to get educated and get a better life. My parents wanted that for us and hope we’ll want that for our kids,” he explains.

Mohamed doesn’t remember much about Somalia.

“I remember running to my grandparents’ house for some good food . . . I remember shootings. I remember going to religion school . . . But not much stuck—I was only six,” he says.

He does remember his first Vermont winter—not total bliss.

“I thought the world was ending. I said, ‘What is this?’ I wouldn’t go to school—it was too cold out there. But you get used to it fast,” he assures.

Another thing that appears to have come fast to him was English. Mohammed grew up speaking Somali and starting to learn Arabic, but only learned English here. He is clearly fluent in it now.

While his older siblings have gone to college, his parents did not. Still, Mohamed credits his parents’ strict discipline with his success.

“They enforced their core values and were always nagging on me,” he remembers. “I didn’t appreciate it as a kid, but now I do,” he says, noting that his parents always expected him to go to college.

“We came here for education and we have to take advantage of it,” he relates.

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