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Maisha Damian was born on December 20th, 2004, and believes that her life unfolds as a testament to indomitable purpose—a commitment to create a lasting impact.
Growing up as the only child in a tight-knit family, she was surrounded by the boundless love of her incredible mother. Her mother’s immeasurable sacrifices knew no bounds, ensuring her dreams were boundless too. Alongside her mom, her aunts and grandparents painted her childhood with warmth, laying the foundation for a life marked by resilience and determination.
Maisha’s academic journey, a narrative woven against the tapestry of two esteemed institutions, began at The Bishops’ High. There, she completed her CSEC exams from 2016 to 2021, covering 12 CXC subjects – achieving 10 grade ones, 1 grade two, and 1 grade three.
“This foundation propelled me to Queens College for CAPE from 2021 to 2023, where in unit 1, I secured 2 grade ones and 2 grade twos, and in unit 2, I attained 2 grade ones and 4 grade twos,” Maisha said.
Throughout her high school years, she immersed herself in various clubs, carving a path of leadership and excellence. At Queen’s College, she served as a prefect as well as participated in basketball at both Bishops’ High School and Queen’s College. She honed her skills in leadership, teamwork, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.
As the Treasurer of The Bishops’ High School Arts Club and a dedicated Girl Guide, Maisha enriched her secondary school experiences while deepening her commitment to societal welfare. She was also a part of the Bishops’ high school Choir and Marching band.
Beyond the confines of classrooms, Damian embraced the spirit of community service. She has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. The experience became a tangible expression of her belief in the power of teamwork and compassionate service. This commitment, coupled with her participation in the Youth in Natural Resources Program, refined her holistic perspective on the delicate interplay between human progress and environmental stewardship.
She added, “In the symphony of my journey, faith stands as my guiding star. God’s presence infuses purpose into my actions, propelling me toward transcendent impact. My late grandfather, my mother, and my aunts form the motivational forces that drive me forward, inspiring me to reach for the extraordinary.”
When asked why she opted to pursue CAPE at Queen’s College, Damian noted that she and her friends wanted a new environment to challenge themselves academically while gaining new experiences.
“My CAPE exam journey was both challenging and rewarding, marked by moments of stress and exhaustion interwoven with unforgettable memories.
“Transitioning from CSEC to CAPE for Unit 1 felt like a significant shift, grappling with the vast content of the subjects and adapting to a new school environment while trying to forge connections and find my place among new friends.
The seemingly endless labs and IA’s, alongside the juggling act of school, extra lessons, homework, and assignments presented formidable challenges,” Maisha told this publication.
By Unit 2, the world began to return to a semblance of normalcy amid the pandemic, and she found solace in gaining valuable experiences. Engaging in sports, participating in basketball games, contributing to Christmas galas, and taking part in the market day provided a refreshing balance and contributed to a more holistic and enjoyable academic journey for Maisha. Her amazing family and friends were the reason she survived CAPE.
One significant challenge she faced during her CAPE Exam journey was the struggle to find motivation, especially when she found herself waiting until the last minute to study. The pressure of impending exams, combined with the realization that time was running out, often made it difficult to focus and engage with the material effectively.
To overcome this challenge, she adopted a mindset centered on the idea that this intense period of studying would be temporary, and the exams would soon be over. Reminding herself of the imminent conclusion helped shift her perspective and provided the motivation needed to power through the last-minute cramming sessions.
How do you feel being on CAPE’s merit list?
At the end of CSEC I made it my goal to merit any cape subject. Being on CAPE’s merit list is an overwhelming mix of shock and joy. I’m over the moon because it feels like I’ve not only achieved a personal milestone but also made my family exceptionally proud. While they’ve always celebrated my accomplishments, being on the merit list validates the sacrifices my mother made to ensure I had attended the best lessons and had all the necessary tools for my studies. This achievement is a culmination of her unwavering support and sacrifices. I’m filled with gratitude for my teachers, especially Sir Carryl, who recognized my potential and always pushed me to give my very best and now I feel like I’ve finally made him proud. It’s not just a spot on the merit list; it’s a testament to the collective efforts and beliefs that have shaped my academic journey.
She mentioned that throughout CAPE she was mentally drained and was drifting away from an overachiever mindset to an “as long as I pass” mindset, which she overcame came overtime.
Maisha’s advice to youths is: “Goal: Start studying early! Write it big on a piece of paper and hang it up in your room as a reminder to motivate you every time you study. Starting early is key—it may seem like you have a lot of time, but trust me, it flies by quickly. Learning all those topics two weeks before the exam can be overwhelming and disheartening. Your workload may be heavy, but try to read a little each day; it’ll add up, and you’ll thank yourself later. Don’t Skip Classes – Once you start, it’s hard to stop. Attend every class and do your best to learn from your teachers. They are valuable resources, and every class missed is a missed opportunity to grasp important concepts. Consistency in attendance pays off in understanding and retention. Build a Strong Support System: Have a good support system and surround yourself with people who motivate you to do better and who also want to succeed just like you do. A supportive network can make a significant difference during challenging times. Share your goals with those around you, and let their encouragement fuel your journey.”
Maisha is currently pursuing her MBBS at the University of Guyana, with a strong aspiration to specialize in cardiothoracic surgery. Her goal is to contribute to advancements in cardiovascular healthcare, thereby promoting and contributing to good health and well-being — United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3.
Her dedication and academic excellence recently culminated in a remarkable achievement – a coveted spot on the CAPE merit list. This annual list recognizes outstanding students who have demonstrated exceptional aptitude at CAPE. Maisha’s inclusion in this prestigious lineup serves as a testament to her hard work, intellect, and commitment to making a positive impact on the cardiovascular health landscape.
With the CAPE’s merit list recognition propelling her forward, Maisha is now more determined than ever to pursue her dream. She envisions a future where she plays a pivotal role in advancing cardiovascular healthcare, contributing to groundbreaking research, and implementing innovative patient care strategies. Maisha Damian’s journey from an aspiring healthcare enthusiast to a recognized name on CAPE’s merit list is nothing short of inspirational. Her story reminds us that passion, coupled with hard work and a thirst for knowledge, can pave the way for extraordinary achievements. As she embarks on the next chapter of her academic journey, she stands as a beacon of hope for the future of cardiovascular healthcare, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who aspire to follow in her footsteps.