Teen juggles community service, high school, Career and College Promise program on journey toward graduation

Published on: March 2, 2022
Malaika Siddique portrait
High school, GTCC’s Career and College program, and running a nonprofit are quite the balancing act for 17-year-old Malaika Siddique.

Life is a balancing act for Malaika Siddique, but the 17-year-old Guilford Technical Community College student wouldn't have it any other way.

She is enrolled in the Career and College Promise program at GTCC and is working toward an Associate in Arts degree and a certificate of accounting and finance in tax preparation. She's also a student at Northwest Guilford High School where she is a senior.

Siddique is passionate about helping others. It was a philosophy instilled in her as a young girl in Pakistan, one that she has built upon since returning to the United States with her family in 2018.

During the past year she formed a nonprofit that works to help the less fortunate in Pakistan, organizing monthly fund drives to supply things like warm blankets for the cold season and water supplies during the dry summer season.

"I grew up seeing the poverty around me in Pakistan, so I felt it important to help when I had the opportunity to," she said.

She also has participated in several donation drives through clubs at Northwest:

  • She tutored four elementary students online during the pandemic.
  • She writes seasonal cards to the elderly and veterans.
  • She is a blood donor ambassador for the American Red Cross.

"Finding the right balance becomes hard sometimes, but my parents and my family are always there to support me," Siddique said. "My dad helps me manage things and often helps clear up confusions in communication and my mom is always there for my motivation."

Siddique was recently recognized by GTCC for her civic involvement with the first MLK Jr. Service Award.

"My grandfather was the kindest person I have ever known. Serving humanity was at the core of his values, so seeing his efforts over the years brings up a connection. It was also one of the most important lessons my family inculcated in me – humanity." Siddique said. "Culturally and religiously, it is important in our teachings that we provide for those who cannot provide for themselves and help the less fortunate. So, community service, volunteering, and charity have played an important part in the way I've grown over the years."

Siddique was born in New York, but shortly after her birth moved to Pakistan with her family. She and her family returned to the United States in 2018 and settled in Greensboro.

Siddique said she grew up speaking Urdu, the native language of Pakistan, and English side-by-side, so communication wasn't a huge problem when she began school in the United States. But, she says things were "definitely different."

"It was hard at first, but now I am starting to get more comfortable with everything," she said. "The school system, the language, the way everything operates here is very different than the way I was used to."

Things have improved for her, though.

"Now, I'm used to people not knowing about my culture and my language. It doesn't feel unusual when I have to explain a cultural reference or things that are normal for me but don’t make sense to people here. I'm also starting to think that having differences isn't always a bad thing. In short, I've learned to stand out and not hate what that feels like."

Siddique plans a career in the medical field when she graduates in the spring despite earning an accounting certificate in addition to her associate degree from GTCC. She is awaiting replies to applications she has made to several four-year colleges. Although she will have transferable credits from GTCC, she still will enroll as a freshman when she moves to a four-year school.

"I want to go into the medical field because I want to dedicate my life to help make other lives better," she said. "I want to continue making a difference for all of humanity a permanent thing by choosing a career in it."

Siddique says her GTCC instructors made the most recent part of her academic journey much smoother.

"Oftentimes, my schedules for the classes at my high school and my GTCC class deadlines clashed, but my professors were always understanding and provided the help needed, especially last year during COVID when everything was online and super confusing," Siddique said. "Some of my professors went out of the way to write me recommendation letters and were in contact even after the class ended."

For more information on GTCC's Career and College Promise Program, visit https://www.gtcc.edu/ccp.

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