Abraham Labban shoots for the stars


Photo courtesy Abraham Labban

Sophomore Abraham Labban

One of the most exclusive jobs to have is being an astronaut, and to most, being one is only a childhood dream. The competition and dedication needed to actually become one usually makes people turn their heads the other way. However, sophomore Abraham Labban is shooting for the stars (literally) and hopes to turn his dreams into reality.

Labban has always had one college in mind, The University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, where he plans to study Aerospace Engineering. Colleges in Canada tend to be less expensive than colleges in the United States, and UBC is highly regarded as one of the best universities in Canada. “Not only do they have a great engineering program, living in Canada would also have a great atmosphere and environment,” Labban said.

In order to become an astronaut, qualifications include obtaining a master’s degree in a STEM field, at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft and passing a NASA long-duration flight astronaut physical. Not only do astronauts have to have extensive training, but they must also be a leader and teammate and effectively communicate. According to NASA, “[There was] a record-breaking 18,300 applications in 2016…[and the] the board invited a small group of the most highly qualified candidates. Of those interviewed, about half are invited back for second interviews.”

The lengthy process necessary to become an astronaut made Labban take a long time to finally confirm it was his goal. Only through demonstrating those important character traits, such as being an overachiever in school and always leading by example, did he realize what he could use his talents for. “When I first met Abraham he would always help anyone with their homework no matter the subject and almost seemingly become a teacher, even though he gained nothing out of it,” friend Sean Synder said.

What inspires him the most to be an astronaut is his need to be adventurous and stand out from regular everyday desk jobs. Being innovative and creative are also traits he is looking for in a job, and he found these characteristics in one of the most unique jobs possible. “Out of all of my family, no one has an interesting job and I wanted to be the one who breaks that streak and has a real impact on everyday people’s lives,” Labban said.

Although the chances of failing are high because of the rigorous requirements, Labban doesn’t let it deter him. He is determined to achieve his goal. With his hopeful degree in engineering, there will be plenty of alternate jobs available if he does not become an astronaut, and the experience gained will be irreplaceable. “I’m not worried about him failing because he always finds a way to better the situation he is in and with his degree he will have many opportunities to still try new things,” sister Aya Labban said.