Testimony – September 2007

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Nothing Is Impossible
by Tanja Maier

maier During my elementary school years, I was a normal student with average results. At the age of 15, I started going out with friends.

At this period of my life, my school results were getting worse. It was more important for me to spend all of my time with my friends rather than study. My parents were sometimes very worried about me. I often hung out with people taking drugs and drinking too much alcohol, and was staying out until 08:00 AM in nightclubs. One afternoon, a friend of mine, went to the “Oktoberfest” in Munich. The next day, he didn’t show up and everybody started to worry about him. Two days later, I was informed that my friend was dead. The police found him in Munich in a ditch. He had died from a drug overdose. From this day on, I stopped going out with this type of friends and stopped taking drugs.

I was 16 when I gave up high school and was spending all my time instead with friends. I did not graduate from high school and had no diploma of any kind. My parents and I tried to find what I could do with no school certificate, no internships and no work experience. I had two options, finish high school or look for an internship in a company.

As I hated school, I decided to do an internship. I sent over 120 resumes, but it was very difficult to find an internship in a company without a school certificate, especially in a difficult working market place where companies had a large choice of applicants. After many negative answers I found an internship in a car company (Audi and Volkswagen). I worked there 3 years as an intern and then was hired as an office clerk.

During my internship, I lost two very good friends. Both of them died in a car accident. One of them lost the control of his car during a car race and crashed into a tree. The impact was so strong, that his body was cut in half. He had many problems and life wasn’t that important to him. My other friend was on his way home at night when he lost the control of his car and crashed into a tree. The worst thing is that they both died on the same street approximately 300 meters away. This made me realize how fragile life can be. We think that we have plenty of time, a whole life to do all the things we want to do, but life can be very short. This also made me realize that my future was waiting for me if only I did something about it. Everyone has their future in their own hands, but it was a long and difficult process for me to realize it.

After these very difficult and sad 3 years, I changed my job and was hired by a logistic company. In the beginning, I was working in the service department and was transferred two years later to the insurance department where I had more responsibilities. This is when I decided to become an economic expert. I took classes every Saturday for two years while I was working 45 hours a week at the company. It was a very stressful time, but I really wanted to do it and worked hard to compensate my lazy teenage years. After the two years, I took the exam and got very good results. This is when I was offered to be in charge of the whole reporting and result control. Two years later it seemed to me that this was not enough and I wanted more out of life. I asked myself: “what do I need to move forward in the business world?” The answer was: ENGLISH and new experiences.

I decided to go study English for 9 months in Canada (Vancouver). My goal is to become fluent in English by the end of my stay and take the TOEFL test. This is of course expensive, but when you really want something, there is always a way, you only have to look for it. You don’t get anything in life without making an effort. It will be a low interest loan from an institution or somewhere else. I left my job last December and decided to come to Vancouver. It’s already July and here I am writing this article. I am taking English classes and will take the TOEFL test in December. Coming to Vancouver was the best decision I ever made.

Of course, I also have to think further and about what I will do after. What job would I be interested in? Where would I like to go back to: “Germany? Another country”? What opportunities will I have? My dream has always been to show people back in Germany, especially my close neighbours, that the “crazy girl” that I was during those days has found her way and grew into a confident and successful person. My second goal is either to go to University and get a bachelor degree or work in a large company. I know that I can do it, even if many people have told me that I was too old to go to the University. I am 25 years old and I think that it’s never too late to do the right thing. Today, I am trying to find a way to make my dreams come true. I will look for someone or an institution that will help me enrol in a college or university to get a bachelor degree or look for a motivating job. It will probably not be very easy, but I am confident that I can do it.
The message that I would like to give in this article is: “Don’t’ be afraid of your future and enjoy every second of your life. Try to live every single day as if it were the last one. Follow your dreams and if you believe in them, you will find the way to make them all come true. It might not be easy every day, but always keep trying and believe in yourself; you will succeed in everything you will do.

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