Overcoming doubt

International Studies Japanese Modern Languages
May 26, 2022

Someone once told Yazmina Ameerah Salahuddin-Robinson ’22, “If you’re feeling scared, then that means that it’s something that’s worth doing.” Salahuddin-Robinson took that advice to heart when she self-published her first book, DUBIUM.

The title, which is Latin for “doubt,” mirrors the insecurity of the young protagonists — and the moments of doubt that Salahuddin-Robinson had in her life. “A lot of people assume that I have all of this self-confidence in myself to publish a book.” She says.

She was able to recognize that although she’s imperfect, she can use her gifts to write, edit, illustrate, and self-publish a 480-page book, even as she is completing her senior year as an International Studies major.

“The moment that I held my book in my hand, I was able to understand what an accomplishment this was. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect, because no one can take this moment away from me.” says Salahuddin-Robinson, who is already working on the next book in the series. “ I hope to encourage others and to help them understand that it’s okay to be afraid, but to never let that fear stop you.”

She brings that trademark determination to the classroom as well. When he learned about Salahuddin-Robinson’s book, Japanese language Professor Michael Tangeman wasn’t surprised. “In my mind’s eye, I can still see her approaching me after class one day to express an interest in learning ‘ALL the languages.’”

“I can still see her approaching me after class one day to express an interest in learning ‘ALL the languages.’”

That intense curiosity for multiple languages is reflected in her book, where each of her 13 main characters (yes, she is planning a 13-book series) are from a different country on Earth. “As a writer, I’m able to describe exactly what the characters look like and use their names as a way to show what part of the world they’re from. I wanted to make sure that I represent everyone who may be reading my book.”

Writing, illustrating, and self-publishing a book involves dozens of opportunities to learn something new. Tons of behind-the-scenes work happens before the final product emerges: making the description and backstory of each character, organizing the information in an accessible manner, editing, illustrating, uploading, and even marketing.

“I spent hours and hours on YouTube and Reddit, reformatting and editing the PDF files.” She says, “I’m always learning something new.”

Tangeman agrees. “I deeply admire the dedication and courage it takes to craft a work of art and put it out there in the world for all to see.” He adds, “My copy should arrive next week.”

Update: Salahuddin-Robinson has just published her second, book, “Siblings” for children.” Siblings, just like families, come in all different shapes and sizes,” she says.