I learned to question and to disrupt, I learned that it was not only acceptable to challenge the status quo, but a necessity to do so.

I have learned how important integrity is to me—it went from a somewhat idealistic notion, at times academic and lacking in practicality, to a fundamental goal in my growth as a person. To me, integrity is achieved by the self-awareness to not just be critical of those who oppose you, but those who empower you. Always question where you come from, your biases, your privilege. I learned that in Sealing Cheng’s anthropology class at Wellesley, and I will never forget that lesson.

I often speak at colleges and to students, and nothing is as humbling. I enjoy sharing my experiences, my failures, and my achievements. I enjoy the role of mentorship when it is a learning opportunity for me. I have had the fortune of meeting so many incredible young people so driven and creative in the ways they want to change the world. Inspiration is binary for me—the experiences and insights of others always help me understand the world with more depth. It's incredibly motivating to hear when my work has been able to help, inform, or extend empathy to someone. Above all else, it gives me hope.

Sometimes I feel defeated by my work, by the world and the path we seem to hobbling down. Many of the people I have met when presenting my work, particularly young people, have such a hopeful way of looking at the world—and though some may label it as naïve, I like to think it’s brave and courageou. At times like these, we need more of that than ever before.

Aslam is a documentary filmmaker, correspondent, and journalist. She was a co-producer for the documentary short, Saving Face, which won the 2012 Academy Award and 2013 Emmy for “Best Documentary." She has produced for international organizations such as The New York Times, Channel 4 UK, and Al Jazeera, and VICE News.