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Rejja Irfan Gives a Talk on Overcoming Hardships

 - Oct 4, 2018
References: rejjairfan & ted
Rejja Irfan is a woman of many professions including a doctor, a teacher, and a violinist -- she gives an inspiring talk about overcoming hardships told through her own experiences. Predominantly, Irfan is a medical student who gained attention due to her impeccable skills in playing the violin. She begins her TEDx talk of turning tragedies into triumphs by asking the audience if they wake up immediately grateful for their healthy livelihood, helping to understand that many of us take our lives for granted. Her experience as a doctor taught her that life is unpredictable and the importance of being empathetic towards everyone she meets.

She compares her experience of being a violinist to empathy, stating that she plays as she goes as what comes is often loosely defined. When a wrong note is played, the entire tune can alter -- or a string can break and the music can completely come to a stop. She explains that everyone is a musician, and each person is in control of what happens following any obstacles they come across. She continues by linking back to the story of when she met an 18-year-old boy with blood cancer in her third year of medical school, who wasn't receiving treatment due to lack of money. She put herself in his shoes and thought about how she can make a difference to his life -- and began to teach violin to him and other patients in similar circumstances. From this, she learned the power of kindness and how it translates so strongly to others.

While treating others, she found that she had thyroid cancer herself, changing her position of help to the opposite end. Irfan went through a series of treatments and a surgery that mentally affected her family negatively. During this time, she was consistently thinking about how she can spread thyroid cancer awareness and detect it in its early stages. Around this time, her biggest supporter and younger brother who had led a path of medical pursuit himself didn't wake up one day -- and she was left with wondering why. This led her to realize that life just doesn't have an answer sometimes.

Irfan aims to broaden perspectives and have people realize that things are much more trivial than they seem -- as nothing of it really matters if you are healthy, have your loved ones, and are present. The key in life is to stop assuming -- assuming that what's here today will be here tomorrow, and that who we love will always be with us. At some points, life will prove us wrong and it will mark a life changing event. When these events happen, you will have changed and that stands as a fact. She encourages the audience to transform tragedies into triumphant results as she stands before them as a doctor herself, as a survivor of cancer, and as an advocate for free healthcare and education.