Mariam Mumtaz is the first Pakistani woman to be interviewed on Literary Retreat. She is an up-and-coming journalist and was also a senior of mine at my university. To find out more about her and her work, check out our session below.
Q1. Mariam, it’s wonderful to have you with us for this Q&A. I’d like to ask, first and foremost, who or what inspired you to pursue a degree in Media Sciences from SZABIST, Dubai?
It’s an honor to be a part of this interview.
Let me tell you, deciding for a university is the most difficult thing to do, so much confusion, many factors to consider, and I didn’t have much help while deciding all of this. It was solely my own decision and I am very happy about it.
I love news—so journalism became an instinctual choice. Hence, came Media Sciences and SZABIST, Dubai; the combination was just too good. 🙂
Q2. Tell us about your experiences with the organizations you’ve both worked for and are currently employed at.
I have worked as a journalist, in media relations, and as a communications expert at various organizations.
Currently, I am looking after the communications of a project called Pakistan Centre. For me, work is more like giving your services towards, instead of simply putting in the hours.
My experiences have been pretty good in all my career-related endeavors. The news organization that I was first associated with will always remain a stepping stone for what I have become today.
Q3. Do you prefer to write only in English or do you also pen articles in other languages?
Q4. What is the proudest moment of your post-undergraduate life?
When I got my first blog published on a news website. And they wrote my description as a Dubai-based journalist even without me telling them this detail. I felt like I was on cloud nine.
Q5. Who are your favorite authors?
Well, I don’t specifically have a favorite writer yet. I read any and everything that’s news related.
Q6. Tell us about your hobbies besides reading and writing.
Besides reading and writing, I love watching interesting news shows, intellectually-stimulating movies—especially those based on true stories. To me what matters most is that whatever and wherever I put my time into, it should be for a worthy cause.
These days there is quite a bombardment of information through every medium. Most of it, I believe, is just time-pass. So, I am very picky about selecting what I do in my spare time.
Ironically, I often end up wasting a lot of time as well. 🙂
Q7. In your opinion, list your graduated colleagues who have also found creative success in their professional lives.
Now, that’s a hard one. Currently, the thing that has been disturbing me the most is that students graduate in a specific area but end up working somewhere else. The frequent reason they cite is that employment opportunities are less, or that they aren’t made aware at college level of how to approach their careers.
This gap of miscommunication between the teachers and students is what needs to be figured out. Doesn’t happen in every educational institute but it I still see it prevalent in most of these foundations. Teachers should take a more proactive stand in their students’ lives and vice versa.
Finding creative success isn’t that easy. It’s a long route. No short cuts. My colleagues have, of course, found success in a standard way, but not all of my classmates have achieved reached the peak of their potentials due to the afore-mentioned reasons.
Q8. There is still a mindset amongst most Pakistani parents that only those kids who have done medical or engineering are entitled to a lucrative occupation. Can you think of any methods to alter this stereotype? Also, did you face any opposition from your family when you told them you wished to follow the journalistic path?
Oh, yes. The majority of Pakistani parents still carry this mindset of medical and engineering being the must-have degrees. However, every profession equally has its own importance and worth, in my opinion. Young people should follow their passion and turn it into their profession.
This is exactly what I did but at an initial cost. My family primarily didn’t comprehend what I was up to. Resistance is always there if you end up doing something out of the box. But one has to be persistent and focused when they’re pursuing their life’s purpose.
As we are on the verge of entering the year of 2018, children are becoming more mature, day by day. Thus, they can be briefed about their actions and the responsibilities that come with it.
Here are the favorite stories that I’ve written: