One Student’s Journey from the President’s Office to Elon
As a child growing up in Afghanistan, senior Toorialey Fazly always knew that he wanted to eventually study in the United States. When he was in 6th grade, he started learning English, due to his interest in the United States and in foreign languages. However, he wasn’t able to come straight to the United States after he graduated high school like he hoped.
“The majority of Afghans, when we came out of the civil war…the majority lost everything that they had and everyone had some kind of financial problems,” Fazly said.
While he wasn’t the only person working in his family, he knew that he had to put his dream on the back burner and help support his family. He eventually got a job with the Afghani government, working directly for President Hamid Karzai as his personal scheduler. Fazly handled all of President Karzai’s daily activities, which he said was stressful at times.
“It was a big responsibility, but very interesting, as well,” said Fazly. “It was a good opportunity for me to learn alot and to set my future goals from there.”
Though Fazly had a good job, it was always in the back of his mind that he wanted to come study in the United States. Eventually, Elon learned of his accomplishments, both in high school and in his job, and offered him a scholarship. Though it was a generous offer, it was still a difficult decision for Fazly.
“When I got this opportunity to come to Elon, I wasn’t working only for me, I was supporting my family,” said Fazly. “It was a difficult decision to be honest with you, because it wasn’t only myself to think about”.
However, Fazly and his family eventually decided that it was important for him, and he came to Elon in August 2010.
Though many people have strong reactions when they find out where he worked and who his boss is, Fazly said that, to him, it was just a job.
“Pride is something for me that destroys a man and I don’t take pride in what I have done or what I will do in the future. If I have done anything that has helped people then thank God, I am happy for it,” he said.
Fazly is currently an international studies major at Elon, and he hopes to bring everything that he learned back to Afghanistan with him when he graduates.
Although he doesn’t know exactly what he will be doing after graduation, but he does know one thing for sure: “my work can start from anywhere. It can start from a small job here at Elon for example, or it can start back from home,” said Fazly. “But everyone has a plan, everyone has a goal and how you get there is a different story, but my plan is to go home and work for people there”.