Sultan Abdel Hamid
A publisher of two books, a medical researcher, a humanitarian activist, a youth speaker, and a 5th year medical student at the University of Jordan, the OC meets Balkees Abderrahman to get to now the person behind the words!
OC: How did you get the opportunity of writing a published medical research paper while you were still in med school?
BA: Most medical students are occupied with the literal “now” and forget about the future. Physicians should be involved in research to expand their knowledge. Being the crazy person I am, I got so involved in all the research chances I found so I can learn how to do one by myself the hard way. It was funny at first. I had to actually do a research on how to do a medical research! Later on, people start hearing about you and inviting you to conferences to present what you have. I was selected as a research representative in the John Hopkins medical world conference, mostly because I was a hard worker at such a young age.
OC: What is the theme of your first novel Love at the Gate?
BA: I feel like in this current time, our world constantly speaks about cultural coexistence and accepting others. We have speakers, authors and critics that go up to the podium and speak; yet no one listens. We are just fighting with each other. Acceptance in general is the major problem we face. People judge others based on origins, culture, color, religion, and what have you. First impressions of people are normal, but we take them to the next level by judging.
OC: What difficulties did you face while writing and publishing your novel?
BA: I wrote the book two years ago, in my third year of medical school. That alone was one of the most difficult things. I wanted to make a rich novel that can fit into any pocket so everyone can enjoy it. When you write about something you truly love, your heart will lead you on through the pages. It took some sleepless nights and lots of work, but it seemed effortless. In order to reach out on a more global level, I found it more convenient to publish it though an American company abroad. After a few rejections, my novel was finally published!
OC: How responsive was the world towards your attempt at becoming an international writer?
BA: As a writer or a person trying to present any piece of work, you want to impress people, hoping the response of the public is great. Sometimes fear of rejection is hard to overcome, but then comes the confidence after the doubt. Take that leap of faith and go forward with whatever you have in mind. At least that is what I did, and I am very grateful for that. You’ll be surprised that whenever you have something good between your hands, someone out there will definitely open the door for you.
OC: What other activities did you participate in throughout the past 4 years in med school, and how did they affect you?
BA: Along with writing my research paper and writing my novel, I was also active in various volunteer associations. I was a little insane to intensify so much of this work in med school, but it was definitely worth it. Every single activity and project shaped the person I am today. I also tried learning about the many societies I visited abroad, such as the time I went to Italy. I tried to be as perceptive as possible, which is something I learned from my parents. I believe this is the most important thing, which I link back to the theme of my novel; coexistence and acceptance. Today, I can easily say I am a complex reflection of all the experiences I have been through.
OC: What advice do you have for the youth who want to go out and make a difference in the world today?
BA: It seems like everyone is just mimicking each other, and very few people are chasing their own dreams. Break the traditional rules. At first, people will call you crazy, but you must prove to them that you are crazy good. My advice is to be individual. Whenever you find an opportunity, take it. Don’t fear the rejection, and be patient enough to remain committed to what you want to achieve. But most of all, remember that it is okay to fail.
Name: Balkees Abderrahman
Occupation: Student, Novelist and Researcher
Favorite Car: A Jaguar… although I haven’t ever driven one yet
Favorite Food: All sorts of Italian pastas!
Dream Vacation: Europe, with its marvelous castles and mesmerizing nature
Favorite Hangout: Starbucks, I get a lot of things done here!
Favorite Movie: Gladiator
Latest Piece of Work: Love at the Gate
Balkees’s Favorite Books:
The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
The Chicken Soup Collection – Multiple Authors
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Balkees’s Favorite Authors:
Jubran Khaleel Jubran