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Arooj Rizvi ’21 is a transfer student San Joaquin Delta College hoping to fine tune her skills at Pacific and meet collaborators in finding ways for helping people.

Arooj Rizvi ’21 is a transfer student San Joaquin Delta College hoping to fine tune her skills at Pacific and meet collaborators in finding ways for helping people.

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Pacific News

Transfer student seeking to fine tune skills, find partners at Pacific

Delta College grad sees education as second chance to achieving dreams
Aug 28, 2019

Arooj Rizvi '21 entered University of the Pacific this semester with a deep desire to uplift others and much more.

"Coming to Pacific is giving me the access key to bring my thoughts into action," said Rizvi, a transfer student from San Joaquin Delta College who earned four associate degrees there while she held down a job. "I'm coming here with a lot of hope. From the traditions of Pacific, I know I will find success in what I'm seeking."

The next steps for her are honing entrepreneurial skills at Pacific's Eberhardt School of Business and finding like-minded people with whom to collaborate to achieve her ultimate dreams.

"It's definitely something I can't do alone," Rizvi said of those dreams. "It's something that I'll need help and support with. And I'm positive the kind people who come to Pacific are very passionate and very determined about who they want to be and what they want to do with life and how we can give back. I'm sure I will find that in abundance."

Rizvi grew up in Pakistan and hopes to emulate Abdul Sattar Edhi, a Pakistani philanthropist and humanitarian, who founded a foundation that runs the largest private ambulance service in the world to help Pakistan's poor. A similar ambulance service here or a community garden providing fresh produce for the homeless are possibilities with the right collaboration, she said.

Her father's civil service job allowed Rizvi to attend private school in Pakistan. However, she knew there would be barriers to receiving the education she would need to pursue her passion and fulfill her purpose: helping others.

"At a very young age - I would say from about eighth-grade onward - you had to be precisely on the mark as to what you wanted to be in life," Rizvi said. "And you just had one chance to do that, because there is no adult schooling in Pakistan."

She toyed with the idea of taking the Pakistani civil service exam to go into law enforcement logistics, because she thought that was the only way to help others. Then, she gave up on her dream of career and further education when in 2010 she fell in love and married a Pakistani-American, Zulfiqar Ali Rizvi, who grew up in Stockton.

After several years living in Stockton and becoming a naturalized citizen, Rizvi's husband urged her to try new things and even go back to school to overcome her preconceptions about the world around her. Part of that involved enrolling in Delta College in 2016, and there she found support, diversity and students who shared the same goals.

"I had the best time," Rizvi said. "My life changed with Delta."

She worked in Delta College's financial aid office while maintaining a 3.91 or better GPA as she earned degrees in arts, humanities and social science; teacher education preparation; social and behavioral sciences; and business. She also took agriculture courses to have a better understanding of the science of growing food should she be able to develop the community garden idea.

"It took me some time before I realized what I wanted to do," Rizvi said. "And once I decided what I wanted to do, it gave me purpose."

Rizvi realized after a meeting with a Pacific transfer counselor that her next step in having her passion meet her purpose was just down the street at Pacific.

"Ultimately, all challenges can be overcome through self-confidence, and education did that for me," Rizvi said. "Education gave me self-confidence and it gave me a second chance. And I feel that the cause that I more lean toward is uplifting the state of affairs of those in homelessness. I am not making a promise to eradicate homelessness, but be a supplement to making the lives of homeless people easier."

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