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Zarak Mushtaq | Interview

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I would say I was an average student and was beaten up at several occasions by my teachers, but my mother always taught me to work hard and she always motivated me saying that 
“You can achieve it son”
-Zarak Mushtaq

Times of Youth: How would you describe yourself? Do give us a brief introduction.

Zarak Mushtaq: My name is Zarak Mushtaq. I am just an ordinary person and quite an average teacher, working hard every day to be better than I was yesterday. I admit I am flawed but we all are, and that is the beauty of life which changes the meaning of perfection for every individual. What truly defines me is my love and passion for Economics, it is a part of me and I cannot even introduce myself without mentioning it. I teach Economics to O and A Level students. Currently, I’m associated to Nixor College and several private institutes like AQS and Nadeem’s Academy.

Times of Youth: Who inspired you to take up teaching as a profession? 

Zarak Mushtaq: I would not call this as a profession, rather a passion. I am crazy when it comes to Economics. I always mention to my students that my first love is “Economics” and when it comes to inspiration, the only person that comes to my mind is Sir Faheem. He was my teacher at our community center and for me he was what I called ‘The Best’. His body language and zest with which he used to come to work was simply extra ordinary.

Times of Youth: If not this, what else would you have taken up as your 2nd career of choice and why? 

Zarak Mushtaq: Hmm, actually I never thought of something else. A few bunch of people including my students, do recommend to start up a business of my own by looking at my practical approach towards business and economics and that it should definitely work but my answer has always been simple (I usually call my students “Awaam”)– Awaam, my first love is teaching economics and it cannot be compromised.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how your experience has been in your current field so far.

Zarak Mushtaq: I must say it’s been extra ordinary. No, it’s not an easy journey and definitely it is not a piece of cake. It’s such a huge responsibility when you enter a class with diversified students staring at you and waiting for you to say those words which actually match their thoughts, so it is definitely not easy. The best part is every year I learn more, as more students come up to me and the responsibility increases, the pressure increases and the pressure teaches a lot each time. I have to work harder on them to prove myself. Initial years of my career had been quite rough as the teaching industry and students couldn’t easily accept me, I was just an 18 years old amateur for them but when the time came to show the skills, I did. I stayed confident and just kept on working hard, eventually the path smoothened out.

Times of Youth: What is the first word that comes to your mind when you read the following- 

Love: Mom
Parents: Blessing
Books: Never
Youth: Future
Students: Awaam
Nixor: Platform

Times of Youth: On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as a teacher, honestly? 

Zarak Mushtaq: We always have fun in the class when I explain the concept of “perfectly inelastic demand” – when all economics teachers are dead and only I am there for you, in that case 10 on 10. All jokes apart, I believe it’s a long journey waiting ahead of me and I need to improve myself both as a person and a teacher in order to be a better person than I was yesterday. When considering the rating, this question should be answered by my students because they are the audience and they must be having the correct answer.

Times of Youth: What is/are the most challenging aspect/s of your career?

Zarak Mushtaq: Life is full of challenges and it will keep on increasing. Challenge is what I mentioned above, when it comes to dealing with diversified students who think differently or approach differently towards the subject. Handling them all at once, answering them, keeping the pace of the class, enhancing the confidence, it is like wearing different hats at one time. What I usually respond to my students is “Rajnikant samjha hai kia”. My style of teaching is the “Desi way” and I always get complements from the students regarding this unique style. I’ll keep up to that and InshaAllah that challenge won’t remain a challenge but become a motivation for me to increase my potential. After stating this, my students will definitely relate to the topic I am referring to because that is the way I talk, I prefer talking in economics.

Times of Youth: What kind of a student were you in your schooling years? 

Zarak Mushtaq: Hmm, I would say I was an average student and was beaten up at several occasions by my teachers, but my mother always taught me to work hard and she always motivated me saying that “You can achieve it son.” I remember my O level Geography teacher, Miss Samina, with whom I also worked at The City School, she always scolded me and sometimes used to hit as well but that is what her love is towards me and she was really happy the day I became a teacher at the same school as her.

Times of Youth: Who according to you is an ideal student & a teacher? Have you ever come across any? 

Zarak Mushtaq: Ideal student and teacher, is a very vast topic I must say. In my point of view an ideal student is who is ready to work hard. Not only is working hard important, but also giving respect to the teacher. If a student respects the teacher, he/she will follow the teacher and all the pieces will gradually fall into place. There are many students who stand up to my definition of ideal student and my Awaam certainly knows who I’m talking about. Last year I came across so many students who gave a lot of respect which helped me always, even when I entered the room with a bad mood, my Awaam always accepted me and it had all been really good. I can’t skip my Nixor Awaam, they were the best. Both, the main campus and NCFP batch, it was my first year at Nixor and it had been an amazing experience.

When it comes to ideal teacher, I would say “Teachers”, there are many, who supported and helped me throughout and are still associated with me. It started with Sir Abdul Qadir Silat and Sir Farooq Parek, they gave me the opportunity at an early stage of my career. Sir Nadeem Salam and Sir Nadeem Ghani gave me the platform and made me the part of Nixor. Sir Ahmed Saya, the person who I can always look up to for suggestions, he has always been polite and generous. They will always remain in my prayers.

Times of Youth: Comment on the rational value of today’s educational syllabus system. As per your observations, what should be included/deleted and why? 

Zarak Mushtaq: There is always a need of improvement in every single aspect. It is very important to note that there is a difference between getting a good grade and getting knowledge. I don’t like it when students ask “Sir, will this part come in the exam?” Well it’s not their fault because since an early age students are taught only what is bound to be tested in the exam. I will prefer if students come to us for knowledge, they will get the desired result automatically.

Times of Youth: Which current personalities do you believe are the most influential in today’s times, especially for current younger generation? 

Zarak Mushtaq: I believe today’s youth is highly influenced by media. The influence of media on psychosocial development of children is profound. Media can have both, negative and positive impact on the individuals. Not all television programs are bad, but data showing negative effects of exposure to violence, inappropriate sexuality and offensive language are harmful. I believe there is a relation between watching violent television programming and increase in violent behavior by children. They tend to perform acts similar to those they watch. As young minds are more vulnerable, they learn what is taught to them. In short, they learn what they see in their daily lives.

Times of Youth: What message would you like to give to the youth of today? 

Zarak Mushtaq: It is a very simple message that I learned from my life. I’ll just explain it in few lines. I believe that a person can achieve anything he/she wants in his/her life. The secret is simple, keep a balance in your life. It is not difficult, both “Deen”(religion) and “Duniya”(world) are important. I have seen many students just focusing on studies and ignoring the most important aspect of life i.e. obeying Allah. If you want to achieve something in your life, you must have the correct intention for it, work hard for it, you may fall but that helps you to learn because you can only rise after you have a fall, and never leave “Deen” behind during this race.

Times of Youth is an International Youth Magazine read by the youth of more than 82 countries. Times of Youth brings the latest Youth Opportunities, News, Interviews, Fully Funded Scholarships, Paid Internships, Future Stars, Rising Stars, etc. For further details you can email us at: [email protected]

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Future Stars

Muhammad Ali | Interview

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Times of Youth: How would tell our readers about yourself and your work in brief for those who may not be aware?

Muhammad Ali: Right now in this century the most powerful thing is Internet. The world population is 7.2 billion from which 40% of population is using Internet. To spread my work and make others aware about my work I can use Internet on Social Media. The Social Media top listed apps are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram e.t.c.

On Facebook daily 1.23 billion people log in. I mostly uses Facebook for my work to spread on my Facebook page. My friends, teachers also helps me to spread my work along with that my Parents  inspires me to make more videos.

Times of Youth: What makes you come up with so many ideas with such enormous potential to do these magic tricks? Who designs the final concepts?

Muhammad Ali: All the ideas which are shown on my videos are my own mostly, To get these ideas I give myself some free time to think about more and more creative ideas, Sometimes I get help from internet I watch some simple videos and come up with ideas to make it in magical vine. I have seen many magical vines and after watching them I creates a different type of video from it. The final concept is designed by myself I first rehearse my ideas off camera and thinks of final shot! Sometimes I share my ideas with my parents to get if my idea is good or not! My father also helps me in making videos, He gives me ideas!

Times of Youth: When did you decide that making magic tricks video was your calling?

Muhammad Ali: As I have got a great God gifted knowledge about editing I thought of making some magic vines. I decided that this magic vines videos are my calling when I made my first video. I was stunned by my own video that how good it was. To see how others likes my video I posted it on social media and got good views from which I started making vines.

Times of Youth: So, what are your current endeavors in academics?

Muhammad Ali: Right now I am in class 8th and I am studying in The City School, Chenab Campus, Faisalabad, My goals in academics are to be what my parents wants from me to become.

Times of Youth: At the end of it all, what is your real aim in life? 

Muhammad Ali: My real aim of life is to make my parents proud of my work and to make them happy to see my work. My aim is to be a successful person to make my friends and teachers feel good about myself. My aim of life is also to make people smile by watching my videos.

Times of Youth: Considering your enormous intellectual potential, we believe that you have the power to bring a rational change in the world. If given a chance, what would you like to do to make this world place a better place? 

Muhammad Ali: To make this world better place from my work is that to make other kids learn about these editing skills from my work and to educate others to help them for better future. I will try my best to use my videos to make this world a better place.

Times of Youth: Which was your first video? How was the response to it?

Muhammad Ali: My first video about magical vine was that the copy of myself is playing with me. This was my first video and the response I got from this video was awesome everyone appreciated me.

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Future Stars

David Uzumaki | Interview

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Times of Youth: Do tell our readers about your work in brief for those who may be unaware.

Sure thing. Well, my name is David Uzumaki and I am known as “8gaming” online. I have a Facebook page and also am YouTuber that does a variety of things. On my Facebook, I post video game facts and trivia that many people would have not known about before. On YouTube, I dwell deeper in the whole video game world of things. (‘Let’s play…’, funny moment videos, informative gaming videos, etc). Essentially it’s just me having fun with video games.

Times of Youth: When did you decide that being a gamer was your calling?

Quite recently actually. I’d say around 2013 when I started 8gaming. I’ve played for many years before that of course (the earliest I can recall is ‘Sonic on’ of the original Sega system and Crash Bandicoot and Tomb Raider on the PS1). I feel the creation of 8gaming made me a more focused gamer as I invested quite a lot of time in it subsequently increasing my love for the hobby.

Times of Youth: ‘8gaming’ is an unusual name. What made you choose it for your project?

I get this one a lot actually. It’s really simple actually. The 8 represents an infinity symbol so technically you can call me infinite gaming. It represents the never ending love for video games that we all have. However, originally the name was derived from “8fact”. A partner of 9gag who essentially does the same thing but posts more general content. I noticed nobody made an 8gaming page so took the chance to make it.

Times of Youth: How did you conjure up the idea of revealing gaming facts using web and mobile apps as a portal?

I got to give credit where credit is due. 8fact. As I previously said they posted general facts and trivia of life, I simply did the same thing but refined it to video games (which I recently expanded to YouTube).

Times of Youth: From where do you gather all these facts? How authentic are they?

Among the positivity of the ‘m8s’ (what I name my supporters). There is always the one or two who try to disprove everything I say. The facts are gathered in 3 ways:

I simply look for pre-existing facts that are already confirmed (but this is difficult to do now since I’m using everything up)

I use different apps and sites to try and learn something nobody has mentioned before or I would use the said apps to post current interesting information. An example is the built in Google Now Cards installed on my phone which provides me with information about things I regularly search. This sometimes provides sources for posts. I also use an app called “Flipboard” which allows me to specifically look for video game related news which I use on the page.

This is the more interesting method. However, I should tell you a bit more about me. I have a keen intrigue when it comes to Physics. As a hobbyist and in formal education. So I use this knowledge and the knowledge I already have of video games to “create” a fact. An example is when I posted about Portal 2 and compared portals to real life using the knowledge I know from physics. However, this is longer process when it comes to gathering information as I must 100% make sure what I say is 100% coherent in a short manner.

Regarding their authenticity, I wouldn’t post something if it was false and this is something that those few people who say otherwise don’t realize. They can simply confirm the information by researching it themselves so I would never post something non-genuine.

Times of Youth: What is your idea of a perfect game?

One that applies real-life theoretical physics in a world of its own to a finite degree. A light example would be the idea behind Delsin Rowe’s (Infamous Second Son) powers being introduced into a real-world environment. Basically anything that is not about real-life but can be explained by real-life (which is why I don’t like Grand Theft Auto).

Times of Youth: Which has been your most favorite game of all time?

“The Last of Us”

Times of Youth: Any achievement of yours which you’re most proud of?

Definitely! I won a national animation competition twice in Ireland and got to travel to Microsoft to their Games localization division to spend a week with them including the Windows team. Although, I am also more proud of 8gaming as a whole. As one can deduce I am still trying to find myself, still trying to carve myself in the gaming world and I’m only in the early stages of that. There’s still a long journey for me ahead!

Times of Youth: Has your work ever been criticized? How did you handle it?

Yes. A lot. Specifically YouTube. For the main reason being when I first got into YouTube, I was clueless (like any other YouTuber). My videos were frankly sub-par and I was having a hard time getting peoples’ attention. This is due to the size of my Facebook page and people comparing it to my YouTube. They ignore the fact that my Facebook page was once small and are condescending regarding my YouTube. In the back of my head though, I know that the hard times will be over as I experienced it with my Facebook page. Recently, things have been going well with my YouTube and I’m in the budding stage of becoming something noteworthy. It’s only a matter of time until both my YouTube and Facebook are at the same level.

When it comes to handling the critics I simply shrug them off (or so I try) as I’ve been hardened from many in the past. You become so used to the positive comments that one negative comment will get to you. 99% of what they say is lacking in background knowledge and they ramble on about things they don’t understand. This goes for both my YouTube and Facebook. I usually block people who say things that simply don’t make sense and their sole intent is to loathe me.

Times of Youth: What advice would you give to the young emerging gamers who still have a long way to go?

Well, since I’m a young emerging gamer myself and am tasting small snippets of success, I’d say (and I know this is cliche) have fun. I feel my short time on YouTube has thought me this. People can sense when you’re not real. When you don’t like what you’re doing. Plus, it would be a waste of your time and you’ll ultimately get nowhere. Whether this is YouTube, Facebook or even just you as a person. The thing you have to do is find something you like and stick with it. There’s no real specifics I can discuss unless you’re super rich and can just advertise your image everywhere (and even that wouldn’t work so well).

Times of Youth: Any message that you would like to share for the youth via Times Of Youth?

Sure! I wanna first thank you for reading this far and I’ll like to tell you one thing. Don’t give up. Once again, cliche as ever but these sayings exist for a reason. Whatever it is you’re passionate about, you will fail and fail over and over again in the beginning. I mean, I still fail all the time. It’s the fact that you can learn from your mistakes and become a better person.
Side tip: Be original or originally recreate something that already exists, make it better.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how fans and admirers can contact you to share their appreciation and feedback.

I reply to ‘m8s’ on a variety of platforms. My personal Facebook page (David Uzumaki)
Snapchat: m8gaming
Youtube: 8gaming
Twitter: @8gaming
PSN: narutouzumaki16

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Future Stars

Levi Boulis | Interview

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For those who don’t know about you and your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a 20 year old from Ohio exploring the world of art. I did not attend college or study art in a classroom past my high school. Through this journey, I’ve gotten to exhibit in London and Barcelona in the past year. Hopefully many more trips will be taken to exhibit my art through out the world. The opportunities I’ve gotten through art has also helped me grow as a person. It’s forced me to become a more outgoing person, which naturally I keep to myself. At first I was just making art because I loved it, and then some people in the art community took notice. So now It’s become a pursuit of a career.

How would you describe your work to someone who has never known about it?

My work consists of various styles and subject matter, as I experiment a great amount with my art. The majority consists of vibrant colors that highlight the emotion I feel from the subject matter. Some of the subject matter includes portraits, animals, water, and city street views. Older artwork was created mainly with charcoal, which has helped tremendously in creating paintings. My more current artwork is done in oil and acrylics on canvas.

What sparked your initial interest in arts?

There isn’t a specific moment that set off my interest. Most kids have a favorite thing to kill time, and mine just happened to be drawing. I continued to draw more and more, and as I got older I grew in talent due to the practice. In my last year of high school, I really began to take it more seriously, as I was taking many art classes.

At what age did you start doing all this work? Has your family always been supportive of this choice of career?

I’ve always been creating art. At 17, I started making the majority of the artwork that is featured on my website and captured the attention of others. My family has been very supportive during this adventure. They have even let me use a room in the house for a small studio space. I think most parents don’t take the news of their children wanting to become artists very well. To parents, the phrase, “I want to be an artist” can be interpreted as “I’m going to have no money”. But this thinking isn’t always true and my parents recognize that.

If not this, what else would you have taken up as your 2nd career of choice and why?

My second choice would be computer programming. I’ve always been interested in why and how the technology works. Since I have a great interest in this field, I’ve taken it upon myself to study it through free online resources and books. My hope is to integrate my creativity and experiences in art with my programming knowledge, to help other artists.

Do tell us how has your experience has been in your current field so far.

I can tell you right away, that it is not easy. There are plenty of times that I don’t want to do anything creative, or a project that is taking a lot longer than I had planned. Forcing myself to work on projects is very important, because practice is necessary to become better. Another challenge is having ideas. Writers may have writers’ block, but a painter has “painters’ block”. This field is also hard to make an income with, if you’re like me and just create original artwork. Others rely on selling prints or paintings. It’s possible though! All it takes is the right person seeing your artwork to really get things moving forward. All that being said, it has been an incredible experience. Unique opportunities have been made available that are just so exciting to be a part of. Getting to exhibit internationally has got to be my favorite part and also, meeting other crazy artists and people from all over the world united by the love for art.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as an artist, honestly?

Currently, I would rate myself a 6. It doesn’t seem very high, but there’s a reason for that. There is ALWAYS more room to improve, so I could never reach 10. Some artists are in the studio almost every day. Right now, that’s just not me. I have many things I am interested in. So I can’t dedicate every hour to my art. I have just set a new goal for myself to help me improve, create one new piece of work every 10 days.

Which of your projects are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of my recent paintings of Barcelona. It challenged me to step away from just doing unrealistic colors and portraits for a time, and try to expand my talent. These paintings included more natural colors, and new subject matter. The biggest part of why I’m so proud of these paintings is I captured the atmosphere I felt while I was there, which is extremely important to me.

Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?

In 5 years, I see myself with a more professional art studio space. Getting the right atmosphere to create my art is very important to becoming better. I hope to be exhibiting at 2 international exhibits a year by that point. Teaching art classes might be something I see myself doing as well. Referencing what I had talked about earlier, I hope to have developed a website to really help artists get discovered and connect them with job opportunities.

What is one question nobody has ever asked you— that you wish they asked you?

“What were you thinking about/what mood were you in while you created this piece of work?” is a question I at least don’t remember being asked before. Most people ask questions such as, “Why did you use this color?” or “How long did it take?”. These questions don’t really have answers that provide any depth to a work of art. Sometimes I choose a color, just because it looks good. The question about what mood or what I was thinking about while painting a particular piece can provide something more than just the visual aspect, and add a better understanding of my work.

Any message to your fans or followers via TIMES OF YOUTH?

I would encourage everyone to pursue their passion relentlessly. I even know many people who have given up on what they love, simply because they doubt themselves. It’s not fair to yourself to limit yourself by fear of failure, and it’s also not fair to everyone else who is prevented from witnessing your unique talents. I firmly believe that choosing a career that you are passionate about will allow you to maximize your potential, because when you’re passionate about something, you will work harder towards it.

Do tell us how can fans contact you to share their appreciation/feedback/suggestions.

Anyone can contact me through my Facebook art page, “Levi Boulis Artist”, or through my website www.leviboulis.com

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