By Fatima from Sprinkle of Surprise.
College years: everyone says they are the best 4 years of your life. I can agree with that almost 100%. College/university years are truly the time where you find yourself, whether that is through academics, finding your ideal major and job, or finding out who you truly are, what you believe in, and your purpose in life.
For myself, it was a mix of all of those things. I was blessed to be able to study what I truly enjoy and I learned so much from my professors and fellow classmates. Furthermore, Islam started to play a bigger role in my life in these 4 years, than it ever had before.
I met people from many backgrounds, cultures, and faiths and that made me realize that everyone has their own life and journey. Becoming friends with people of such a mix of background also made me realize the importance of my faith, and abiding by everything I was brought up with, which was tested multiple times over the years.
BEGINNING OF COLLEGE
The start of college is the hardest part, at least in my opinion. You’re thrown into a new environment, school, and classes, where you may or may not know anyone. Everyone struggles at the beginning of college in their own way, and the biggest struggle I had was that I felt really out of place and friendless. I’m naturally quiet, until I become comfortable with people, and open up. It took me almost my entire first semester of college to make a solid group of friends, with whom I’m still friends with until today.
Be aware of the type of friends you make in college. You want to make sure you associate with the right type of people, someone who is like you and enjoys similar activities. If you know your limits and what you can and cannot do, it will be easy to avoid uncomfortable situations. In college, there is plenty of opportunities to stray the right path and involve yourself with haram activities.
I was lucky enough that all of my friends were like me, and a lot of them were Muslim, so we had the same background and were able to have a good time in proper ways. Be aware of your surroundings and what type of things you get involved in. Even if you have one or two friends, who are GOOD, that is plenty to start out with.
A big factor that can help you in having a fulfilling college life, is by joining clubs. These can be faith based clubs or activity based. The benefit of being a part of these organizations is that you get to meet people with a similar interest or background as yourself. It becomes a pathway to make friends.
A tip I’d suggest to anyone who is going to college, is to join faith based clubs if your school offers them! Lots of large universities have Muslim Organizations that hold large events, fundraisers, and organize various activities through the year. Likewise, if you join faith based clubs, the events they hold will most likely be connected to your religion. This will provide you with an outlook and platform to remember Islam, pray on time, and participate in other religious activities. Similarly, there are cultural clubs, for people who are Pakistani, Indian, or Arab as well and those are just as great to join. The best thing about being involved in such clubs, is that you will always have a place where there are people like you. It will be an on campus connection that will keep you closer to your religion and culture while you are away from home.
I loved being active in different clubs through my years because it let me meet so many people. I was also able to attend various-halal-events and enjoy myself and make the most of the situations that I could. Clubs are a great addition to your education as well as they will provide an outlook to so many different things.
All of that being said, college is the time to enjoy, learn, and grow as a person! They are the best years of being a young and experiencing many enjoyable memories. Surround yourselves with positive people and friends, study hard, and make sure to keep Islam at the center of your life.
Catch my next post in this series, discussing life post grad & balancing faith!