Susan Abbassi

How did your experiences at CSUB help you find your first position
after graduation?
 As a grad student pursuing my Ma in English literature, I was
required to have 10 hours of 1o1 tutoring with students. After
fulfilling those requirements, I started my intern in the Writing
Center at Bakersfield College, and within a semester, I was officially
hired as a Writing Specialist. The classes I took during my undergrad
and grad school at CSUB did prepare me for the job that I have now at

What career advice would you give our students?
Do not give up when facing obstacles. Challenges and difficulties are
inevitable part of our journey in life. If you are not facing any
difficulty, it probably means you are not moving forward! The key is
to have a goal—or at least an idea about what you like to do—then just
moving toward that goal, no matter what comes your way in the process.

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today?
Was there a pivotal moment?
I do not think that there was a pivotal moment. I like working in an
educational setting and believe I can continue learning through
teaching. In teaching—especially 1o1 interaction—I get to connect with
students and their characters, seeing them as an actual individuals
who are at need of some guidance. As a child, I did not have the goal
of teaching and doing what I am doing now. I always thought I would be
a doctor doing heart surgery! Now, also as a healing practitioner, I
believe I can still do heart surgery though in a very metaphorical

What do you attribute your success to?
My faith in God has been a significant source of strength and
motivation in my life. Additionally, I see my determination,
persistence, and self-confidents as other key elements for my success.
Indeed, I believe success is not accidental!

What have you accomplished or overcame in the past that you thought
was impossible at the time?
I never thought of getting a Master degree in a language other than
mine (Persian)! Now I teach writing to all sorts of students—even
those whose first language is English. This is something I had never
dreamed of. Now I believe that everything can be possible!

What hardships did you face, and how did you overcome them?
My journey was packed with hardships! At a very young age, I found
myself in a new country with a new language and culture, without the
emotional or financial support of my family. I was all on my own and
had to learn how to live my life in a new place without the support of
my family. I overcame these difficulties because my eyes were focused
on my God, and I did not consider failing. I just kept on going even
though at times, it seemed impossible.

Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life?
Growing up, I always considered my parents—especially my father—as my
role mottle in life, and they have been such a great inspiration to
everything I do. However, moving to US during my teenage years forced
me to be quite far from my parents and their incredible support, so I
had to constantly encourage myself in their absence.

Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am really proud of my publications! Starting off as an ESL student,
I never thought of producing any piece of writing in English. Now I
have published several of my poems (Being Love Is Better, The Way to
Love, All about You, I am not afraid, and Drowning in Love), along
with one of my articles, (Hijab: More Than a Piece of Cloth), in an
online literary magazine and a literary journal. Even thinking about
my writings brings tears to my eyes and true satisfaction to my heart.

 Where do you expect to be in five years both personally and professionally?
I expect being in a better position five years from now. I can make
such a statement because I am aware of the amount of seeds I am
currently sowing! I have started a second Master degree—this time in
Divinity, and by then, I will have my degree and will establish my
spiritual healing clinic—something I am very passionate about.
Perhaps, I will still be teaching at Bakersfield College while still
functioning as an adviser for Muslim Student Association (MSA). Of
course, I will have more writings and publications. I also see myself
forming a family, living peacefully with my husband and children in a
lovely home.


Last night, I entered the house of love

And got melted in a radiant light.

Drained and bewildered, I wished to sleep

Yet I was convinced,

In an alert place, being alert was better.


Hungry and thirsty

I wanted to eat the bread of ecstasy and drink the wine of light

And wished to get drunk with the fullness of love. 

But I knew, 

In a sacred place, being sacred was better.


Then I wished to shout as a mad soul, 

To sing the song of bliss and harmony,

And to dance with the fount of existence.

Yet I remembered,

In a silent place, being silence was better.


Then I wished to move,

Walking as if flying in an affable space

Free, like the wind.

But soon I remembered,

In a still place, being still was better.


Then I sought to love,

To see the beauty in living without hate.

Forgetting shadows, adoring both light and dark

Yes I had learned           

In the house of love, being love was better.