Jan 13, 2014

College Girl's Point of View Part 2

By Ruby S.

Part 1


In the last part, I discussed some of the challenges that come up both as a student and as a Muslimah attending a Western university. Here are some more issues I have dealt with personally.

1) Non-Mahram: Sorry, I can't shake your hands…

Attending school in the West inevitably means attending a co-ed institution, most of the time. Unless you are lucky to go to an all-girls' college (some do exist here!), you will be running into men, whether you mean to or not. First of all, it is allowed to be in a mixed gender environment for the purpose of education. However, this does NOT mean it is okay to flirt and chat with other guys, even if you are in an educational environment. The same rules in dealing with the opposite gender apply here, as well. Which leads to the unavoidable, completely awkward situation of moving your hand away from a guy offering his hand when he meets you. The awkwardness is unavoidable—a solution is to pretend to sneeze into your own hand ;) Joking aside, though…if you take the time to explain to a guy that your religion protects women and that touching is not allowed, he will accept it and respect you. What’s better is that he will also keep his distance—a safe but still friendly distance. In the worst-case scenario, the guy will just avoid you at all costs. But these restrictions in Islam are for the best, and Allah subhaana wa ta’aala knows what is best for us.

2) Time Management: It’s due TODAY?!

No matter what faith you practice, time management is something that becomes an issue for all college students. In Islam, time is a precious commodity that we as Muslims are blessed with. Time is a means that should be cherished and used wisely. In school, this is especially important: make timelines, write down what is due weekly, and set aside study hours to keep you in check. No one enjoys the feeling of procrastination or having to finish papers at the last minute. So why waste the valuable time you have at school when you can be getting things done? One more note I have learned since attending college is that staying awake after Fajr prayer (Dawn prayer) gives you the chance to get SO much done. There is barakah in that post-sunrise time that’s not found throughout the day again. So make use of the time that you are blessed with, and don’t let the procrastination lifestyle get to you!

3) Food and Weight: restaurant, homemade, or on-the-go

College students are notorious for terrible eating habits: chips, candy bars, pre-packaged foods like Ramen, microwavable dishes, or take out. Constant studying, extracurricular activities, and college life in general takes up so much time that food gets pushed to the back of one’s mind. The good news is that it does not have to be that way! The best solution is to make food at home or in your apartment. Sandwiches, salads, and soups, for example, are excellent for lunches. If you live in a dorm, try narrowing down your food list: keep away from oily, heavy, greasy food. Choose fresher, greener, and more colorful food. Vegetables and fruits should be a priority, as well as whole grains instead of white products. Sugar is okay once in a while, like a cupcake here and there. The trick is not to overdo it. As it goes in the Sunnah: 1/3 for food, 1/3 for water, and 1/3 for air with respect to the stomach. Eat enough for your fill, and choose those food that will fuel you longer: fibrous, colorful, and fresh. 

With these tips in mind, I pray that all college Muslimahs have a productive year and experience.


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