By Fatima from Sprinkle of Surprise.
High school is a time of change, anxiety, and achievements. For many people, it’s the worst time of their lives. For others, it is the best. For myself, I think it is somewhere in between but on the side of best times of life.
Here in the West, Muslim children who grow up and attend schools here, face many other challenges than the average high schoolers. We all are aware that high school is the time when kids become more rebellious and get involved in activities which might be haram for Muslims.
Friends are the biggest influence in a teenager’s life. Surrounding yourself with good friends, who are similar to you in either faith, belief, or the type of person you want to be, is the key to having a good time in high school.
Staying away from people who involve themselves in activities that are haram will make your own life easier. I know many Muslim people in my high school who were friends with the wrong type of crowd, and eventually did get involved in those type of haram activities. I also know other Muslim people, who did have friends who were doing haram things, but they themselves were able to stay away.
That type of balance and understanding your religion will go a long way.
I was lucky enough to be friends with Muslims and Non-Muslims in high school, but I made sure they all understood what I could do and what I could not do, and thankfully they never pushed me into doing something I could not do. I never went to a high school party with alcohol or on a date with a boy. Sure, many times you ‘feel left out’ when your friends are talking about these things, but you have to remind yourself of your religion and how these momentary experiences, will not lead to any positivity in the next life.
I graduated high school about 5-6 years ago, and shockingly, social media was around, but I can say that it was not a HUGE influence in my teen years as it is today. In my time in high school, the main use of social media was Facebook. Today, teens have FB, Instagram, Twitter, and a million other social media accounts.
I feel that social media plays a strong role in what kids do in their teen years. There are so many negative things kids can pick up by seeing what their favorite celebrities and ‘role models’ do, and it can affect what teens feel about themselves. For example, social media portrays that a ‘pretty girl’ has to be tall, thin as a stick, and look a certain way. So many high school girls, and just women in general, are insecure about their looks and social media adds to this anxiety.
High schoolers should be wary when they are on their social media accounts. What is shown over media is not always accurate, true, or what we should strive to be. Making that divide in our brains will reduce the negative impacts that social media can cause.
BALANCING IT ALL
I truly believe that those students who keep Islam at the center of their lives, will be able to stay away from all of the issues that high school brings, as well as succeed in their own lives.
- Salat- making sure to pray on time and not to skip prayers regardless of what is going on. Whether you are at a friend’s house or studying, make sure you break for Salaat. I would always use my study breaks to eat and pray, and then went back to my studying. It helped me keep organized, and I made sure to pray for my upcoming exams
- Haram vs Halal- knowing what is allowed and what is not, is something we are brought up and taught daily by our religion and parents. In our teenage years, this will be tested numerous times. If you have a strong foundation and belief over what is allowed to be done, and what is not, you will automatically stay away from those haram activities. Knowing this at a young age will only help as you progress to college and your adult life
- Parents- the Holy Quran, at numerous occasions, speaks about parents. All of our parents play a strong role in how we succeed in this world. Your parents will most likely warn you of the evils in this world, and at times may keep you from having ‘fun’. I’ve had this happen on numerous occasions to myself. When I was younger I was never happy when they would say NO when I wanted to do something with my friends. At the time, I never understood why they would keep me from doing things sometimes. But as I grew up, I realized it was only for my own protection. As long as we know what our parents expect of us, and follow their rules, we should be able to make the right choices.
All of that being said, high school is still a time you should enjoy and make the most of. They are the best years of being a teenager 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 in college & balancing faith!
The opinions expressed in this post belong to the writer and may not reflect The Muslim Girl’s opinions.