Student works hard to make ends meet - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Student works hard to make ends meet

Said Mohamed

Said Mohamed is a graphic communication major at Lansing Community College.  Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

For some, school is the only worry. Tests, exams, finals … those are the stressors. For others, however, just worrying how to make ends meet is the real stress.

Just ask LCC student Said Mohamed, 24, who is not only going to school, but holding down a full-time job because, no matter what, the rent is due.

He said the only point in free time is to pursue passion, so, even if it is popular opinion that he should slow down, he marches on.

“I am only taking three classes,” he said. “I am a full-time FedEx driver, but it’s not too bad.”

He is currently a graphic communication major, but started off as a computer programming major who was only in school because it seemed like a good idea.

“I hated it,” he said. “I hated every minute of it.”

Graphic design found him because he had a lot of animation majors for friend, and he wanted a taste of the creator lifestyle without the carpal tunnel.

“Originally when I switched my major and got back into art, I wanted to be a comic book artist,” he said with a wistful smile. “That is still something I want to do at some point.”

Currently he is taking Graphic Communications, Digital Illustration and Physics for a total of 11 credits. He said that LCC soothes his need to avoid crowds.

Mohamed said he prefers to spend any spare time focusing on building a portfolio, making connections and sharpening his skills.

“At the end of the day, it’s about time. I am taking three classes, working a full-time job,” he said. “It sucks. I shouldn’t have to work this much, but that’s a whole other conversation.”

Mohamed has his own line of superheroes that he is working on. Husna Mohamed, his older sister, remembers seeing them all around the house since her brother could pick up a pencil.

“One thing that has always stood out about Said and watching him grow up was how he always moved to the beat of his own drum,” Husna said. “He didn't follow what was popular or trendy at the time, he always stayed true to himself.

“Since he was a kid he would draw in his notebook, and I always admired how much he practiced. I mean you could pick up any notebook in the house and find some of his drawings. I remember telling him he should write his own comics or pursue something that utilized his skills.”

Husna was an unofficial parent to Said in a house of nine children. He said all the best parts of himself come from Husna, from his love of R&B to his need to help strangers.

Mohamed described the atmosphere in his household growing up as loud, with the scent of delicious food always lingering.

“It always felt safe,” he said.

That safe feeling never lasted long for Said, though. As a Muslim child with Kenyan parents, there were plenty of challenges that most will never know.

“I was 3 when 9/11 happened and my parents refuse to tell me what they went through at that time, but my brothers and sisters have given me an idea,” he said. “People would call me a terrorist, as an insult, as a casual thing.

“I remember in second grade, I was mute, everyone seemed to scare me, and someone asked me what I was. I said I was Muslim and the next question was why my people did 9/11. We were in second grade. I was born right over there at Sparrow Hospital.”

He said that it was Husna who explained racism to him for the first time by telling him there would be some people who just wouldn’t like him.

“I didn’t understand it. I didn’t do anything. I was just a wee lad trying to get by,” he said, still sounding a bit confused. “I can look back and see that people who called me those things were obviously misinformed, but my immediate thought is anger because they don’t know the truth.

“I’m just Said. I’m just some dude. That’s it.”

Mohamed said even though there were unbelievably tough times, he also found friends who seemed to be there the whole time.

He now has a solid friend group of five guys – no burgers or fries – but a double side of support. He also claimed to know “too much” about ravens, and confessed to loving the color red.

Mohamed is not a fan of travel and said he would spend the rest of his life in his chair if he could. He has a deep love of stand-up comedy.

He recommends the entire student body watch the Netflix special of Hasan Minhaj called, “Homecoming King,” if there are any remaining questions about his experience in America.

His story is complicated, but he said his identity cannot be defined by propaganda.

“I am so much different than any presumption will lead you to believe,” he said.

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