Arizona Online Sophomore, Roma Khan’s Journey of Self-Discovery
Roma Khan’s education hasn’t followed the typical timeline. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, she first found her place in the United States, then started a family and found her passions, and eventually began to pursue her next accomplishment.
A sophomore majoring in Communication at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) at the University of Arizona, she’s using her experience to guide her as one of the first online ambassadors for the College of SBS.
SBS Online Student Ambassadors are a select group of current Arizona Online students studying in the College of Social Behavioral Sciences, who serve as online community leaders who play a critical role in connecting online students with mentorship and resources.
Roma’s path to becoming a representative of her school is a journey of self-discovery that’s still in progress. Roma immigrated to California with her mother in the late-1980s (her father had already come to the United States to lay a foundation for his family).
"I wanted to be a police officer when I was younger," says Roma. "I never thought I could really do it because traditionally, Pakistani girls end up doing what their parents want them to do."
However, Roma followed her strong will and decided to design her own future. Roma became a security officer for the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports. Eventually, she started performing paralegal tasks for a friend who is an attorney – and, she realized, she was pretty good at it.
"I fell in love with the law because you really get a firsthand understanding of how everything works," says Roma.
Today, she works as a legal assistant at Liebert Cassidy and Whitmore, a labor and employment law firm in Westchester, Los Angeles. The firm represents public entities, private and public schools, and nonprofit organizations. Roma's primary role is in supporting litigation work, which means she does a lot of document preparation and filing with the court system. She also does administrative tasks, research, and management.
When the pandemic hit, Roma had time to reflect on her life and what she wanted for her career. She started looking up online programs and degrees and came across the online BA in Communications with the University of Arizona.
"I think communication is fascinating because there are so many ways to communicate, even with gestures or symbols. Communication, to me, is a way for people to either get ahead in life, or it's something that hinders people from achieving what they want. And I always felt that I was a strong communicator, which opened doors for me," says Roma.
Roma watched her mother struggle with language and communication as an immigrant in the United States, and it made her realize that communication is the key to success.
Roma’s working through her general education courses and required electives – and, as she has before, she’s keeping her eyes open for where her future may lead. Roma envisions utilizing her passions for law and communication in her future career goals. But Roma is in no hurry. She is confident that her path will unfold organically, and she's enjoying the journey and taking advantage of opportunities where she can.