I have completed half of my college journey. I am in utter disbelief.
Last year, at this time, I was the most miserable version of myself.
On the outside, I had a smile that made it appear like everything in my life was fine. I got a summer internship, I was involved on campus, and I was surrounded by people. However, I am continuing to learn that the outside image is not always sincere. Even though my life looked perfectly fine, I was not fine. Far from it.
Today, however, my smile is brighter than ever, Allhumdullilah. I have gained so much perspective, and with that so much love. I love the opportunities I have been given. I love the people in my life. I love the person I am — and the person I am becoming.
A lot. For starters, I began to listen to myself. I learned that my voice matters most. If I want something, I have to ask. If I want to maintain relationships, I have to reach out. If I want to be happy, I have to make that happen for myself. I made an effort to make my experiences connect with my desires. I am no longer stuck in a cycle of doing what I think other people want me to do.
My love for learning was also rekindled. At the start of my college journey, I felt incredibly distant from my course material. I didn’t enjoy school for the first time in my life. I went to lecture. I read my textbook. But, I wasn’t thrilled with what I was learning (for the most part). This year, however, I smiled through the lectures and enjoyed writing the essays. School didn’t feel aloof. Whether it was learning about the Great Goddess murals in Teotihuacán or the economic dimensions of mariachi music, I loved it all.
Though I have to admit, I am indeed normal — and so there were moments when exams and papers killed my spirit. They just didn’t kill me completely. 😉
Knowledge is so powerful. Learning is so wonderful. I am so blessed to be able to study what I love. The classes I take make me a better person, more empathetic. They make me question the world and allow me to remain curious. Curiosity is so undervalued, but it is so incredibly important. When we stop living in a world with questions, we fail to create innovate solutions. We fail to elicit meaningful change. Stay curious, friends.
In addition to this intellectual exploration, I have realized my worth. The social landscape of college is confusing because there are so many opportunities to forge friendships, but those friendships aren’t always meaningful. This semester, I invested in meaningful relationships. I surrounded myself with people who understand me and make me a better person.
I also invested in myself. I went on that run, baked on that random weekend, and bought that almond milk hot chocolate. Being there for myself allowed me to gain confidence in all aspects of my life.
The one word I would use to summarize my second-year of college would be surprising. I am surprised by all the growth and decay, the happiness and sadness, and the successes and failures I have experienced this year. I am hopeful, however, that these moments will continue to allow me to reflect on life with optimism.
If I could go back to my freshman year self, I would tell her, “everything gets better. It truly does. You live, you learn, you grow, you burn — in all the chaos you will be fine. You will, I promise.”
I love writing these reflective posts because I am able to track all the changes I’ve experienced. From when I was miserable in AP chemistry to the times I thought I wouldn’t survive the college admissions process. All of these entries remind me that I am always growing, but more than that they remind me that the hardships I may face are temporary. They hurt in the moment. They make me cry, they make me scream. But everything does become better.
This semester also allowed me to confirm my passion. I have contemplated my true passion for years. I have tried for so long to suppress what I love because I am afraid that the passion I possess is too idealistic. My cynicism sometimes gets the best of me. I sometimes don’t believe in my dreams and that hurts all aspects of my life. However, I have accepted what I truly want to do. I have clarity — and that makes me hopeful, Allhumdullilah. 🙂
Summer is here. I am currently
packing (trying my best to stuff everything I own into two suitcases) for my trip to Singapore, where I am interning abroad. My first Ramadan in a foreign place. My first Eid without my family and friends. My first time alone in a new place.
A year ago, the idea of doing that would make me cry, but as I think of calling Singapore my temporary home — I smile.
I have grown so much. I will continue to grow, insha’Allah.
More updates to come.