Student traveled long road to Highline
Jessica Cuevas • Staff Reporter
Mohamed Ibrahim went to high school in a warzone. After that, college was easy by comparison.
Ibrahim will be graduating in Spring 2022 with an honors associate’s degree in Community Health and Wellness and a certificate in Clinic Service Representative.
Ibrahim grew up in East Africa, where he faced many challenges, he said.
“I used to live in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, where I spent most of my time. I started my school, and it was during the civil war,” Ibrahim said. “Of course, there were also different kinds of challenges like financial issues, security issues, and so on.”
Ibrahim said he also had a hard time getting to and from school while living in Somalia.
“My high school was located in another district where I used to walk sometimes for long distances which was a little bit far from my house,” he said.
Ibrahim said after he graduated high school in Somalia he moved around a lot before finally ending up in Washington.
“I came to America in 2015, Columbus, Ohio for two years, and then finally to Washington,” he said.
Ibrahim said his main struggle when he came to the United States was either taking a job that made a lot of money or pursuing his education.
“I became too busy working in warehouses and having a family, but luckily I didn’t forget my dream to increase my knowledge and to help my people,” he said. “While most of my friends advised me to become a truck driver.”
Ibrahim also said his academic adviser, Jennifer Johnston, was a big part of his growth and support system at Highline.
“I came to the advising department of Highline, especially Jennifer’s office, and she gave me detailed information about the college and the faculties. She told me the requirements and suggested to me that I had to do a placement test, and I did it,” Ibrahim said.
He was also recruited by Johnston for the health care professions department of the advisory committee.
Johnston said she saw huge growth throughout his studies here at Highline.
“He started out lacking confidence in his academic abilities, but that confidence and competence steadily grew in his time at Highline College. He is loyal to his culture yet open to learning from and teaching others,” Johnston said.
Ibrahim also maintained constant communication about his school work and progress, Johnston said.
“As an adviser, Mohamed kept in communication more than any other student I have had. He checked in on his progress and let me know how he was doing. He learned how to advocate for himself and asked for help when needed,” she said.
Johnston also said Ibrahim has many unique qualities as a student at Highline.
“Mohamed stands apart with his persistence, curiosity, devotion to his culture and family while achieving his goals,” she said.
Other instructors at Highline also helped Ibrahim throughout his journey at school, he said.
“During my education at Highline College I met helpful instructors who helped me and taught me during the pandemic while all the libraries were closed, but I would meet with the teachers during office hours,” Ibrahim said.
He also said he found Zoom and the Highline library to be good resources.
“The Zoom app was my real friend during the pandemic. On the other hand, I used to meet at the Writing Center, Highline library in Zoom meetings weekly,” Ibrahim said.
However, Ibrahim said he also faced challenges throughout the pandemic with classes being online and having distractions around him.
“Especially for people like me who are parents, while you are in Zoom meetings, and you have kids at the same time, it’s difficult to pay attention to the lectures,” he said. “But my professors were helpful and aware of the situation.”
Ibrahim said he wants to continue his education at a school close by.
“I’m planning to go to Seattle Central College in the fall for my bachelor’s or at the University of Washington,” he said.
Wherever he ends up, Ibrahim said he is glad to finally be graduating from Highline this spring.
“I am happy to graduate from Highline, which is one of the best colleges in Washington state,” Ibrahim said.