Arfa Kareem; a personification of intelligence who proved that age is just a number

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain

When it comes to youngest professionals of 21st century, age is really just a number because they leave behind most experienced professionals with their ideas and hard work. Nothing can stop you from achieving your goal except yourself. Age is not the thing that matters; your uniqueness and innovation does. Such is an example of our youngest Microsoft Certified professional Arfa Karim Randhawa who at the age of nine in 2004 received the title and kept her title until 2008. She represented her country on various national and international forums.

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Neither doing well nor failure is the measure of success. Success is what you think about you have done. Loving what you do. You have to explore what you love and then spend your last energies to achieve your goal.  At a very early age, Arfa recognized her talents,

“At the age of five, when I was in kindergarten, I often used to pass by the computer labs and see students doing work on computers. I realized that calculation, which would take us a long time to do, can be done in less than a second with the help of computers. So, that is how my interest in computers began.”

 

Her father, seeing her interest in computer, somehow succeeded to persuade APTECH to enroll her despite of her young age. Here the story begins. She passed her test at a ripe age of nine and became youngest Microsoft official ever. On her success, Bill Gates, co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, invited her to visit his headquarters.

 

It is a myth about Bill Gates that it is literally not worth his time to pick up a dropped $100 bill from the ground. With a worth of $72 billion, a 6% rate of return would earn Gates roughly $114.16 per second he is alive, making it a poor investment for Bill Gates to bother picking up a $100 bill if he dropped it and he spared his time to meet our youngest legend. He presented her with Microsoft Certified Application certificate and gave her a visit to Microsoft Headquarters. She was able to achieve all this because she explored herself at a very young age, found her forte, and not only proactively worked on it but also proved to the whole world how capable a young woman can be. She tells about her initiation in following words,

 “I started to explore computers on my own and first used one at the age of six, when I was in first grade.”
 

Seattle newspaper paid her a glowing tribute in these words: “The visit to Microsoft headquarters was the culmination of a meteoric rise that has turned Arfa into something of a celebrity in her country. It began at age 5, when she walked by a computer lab at her school and started wondering about those strange “boxes” -- the computers and monitors. Later, when she found out what they did, she was amazed. ‘When you push a button, something magically appears on the box,’ she said, recalling the experience’.”

Todd Bishop, a Seattle-based P-I reporter was there to cover Arfa’s visit to Redmond, Washington. He wrote about Arfa in these following words: "She made an impression through a combination of charm, flattery and boldness uncommon for someone her age. For example, during Arfa’s meeting with Gates, she presented him with a poem she wrote that celebrated his life story. But she also questioned him about what she perceived to be the relatively small proportion of women on the campus." Noticing a relatively small fraction of females at campus was a proof of her keen observation and broad intellect, which is usually not expected from a 9-year-old kid.

She was a prodigy in computer science and government of Pakistan gave her Pride of Performance Award recognizing her hard work and talent. She received Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology in August 2005, presented by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and

Salaam Pakistan Youth Award.

 

 

Soon her acumen in IT was acknowledged on international forums too and she was invited for lectures in different universities. She was invited by IT professionals in Dubai where she also flew a plane and received her first flight certificate at a young age of 10. In 2006, she invited to talk in Tech-Ed Developers Conference in Barcelona where she was the only Pakistani among over 5000 IT professionals. She was made brand ambassador for Pakistan telecommunication Company’s 3G Wireless Broadband service, named EVO, in January 2010.

She passed away in 2011 in a very young age of 16 years due to Cardiac arrest. In her short life span of only 16 years, she gave us so many lessons to learn. She taught us that stop waiting for opportunities as it is the most absurd thing instead build opportunities for yourself. Build your destiny and fate. Work proactively and take initiatives, as it is you and only you who can either make or destroy your life.

“If you want to do something big in your life, you must remember that shyness is only the mind. If you think shy, you act shy. If you think confident, you act confident. Therefore never let shyness conquer your mind.”- Arfa Karim