Saturday, May 28, 2011

Half the Battle


Wheww, what a month it was! SPM month might have been longer with more exam papers (20+ papers) but it was nothing compared to this AS month. I only had 3 weeks of exams, with gaps in between and at most, 7 papers. But the exhaustion, the stress, the anxiety; nothing like what I'd been through before this. I remember after sitting for my 3-hour History paper, I felt like I just finished running a marathon, literally so. When I put the last full stop after the last sentence and dropped my pen at the end of the 3 hours, I held my head back, closed my eyes and took a really deep breath. And let it go. Just to be sure I was still alive. I was, thank God!

There were days when sleeps did not come easy even after long hours of studying. Perfect example of the body being physically exhausted but the mind was still in overdrive. That's the worst feeling ever, I tell ya. You wanted to drop dead asleep on the bed but you just can't. The mind kept whirring and churning, sometimes with unnecessary thoughts. A friend even said, he couldn't sleep even at 4 in the morning and his mind started making up its own Biology questions. Haha yes, it could be THAT bad.

But then again, the exam month wasn't all that bad, to be honest. It even brought some of us closer together because being away in a residential college like KY, your friends (apart from parents, teachers etc) become one of your strongest support systems. Study groups work best in KY especially for subjects like Economics and History. We had countless History discussions, did plenty of essay plans and sometimes, our own self-taught classes among ourselves.

And no, the discussions weren't all dry and studies-related only. We did stray away from the books from time to time, just to keep ourselves sane. Silly jokes, laughters, gossip reigned the table in between our 'breaks' or when someone had something nonsensical to say.

The trick to surviving in this place is to choose the right circle of friends. Friends who are not only able to make you laugh or those you sit with during lunch or dinner but friends who you could run to in times of need, whatever the problem may be. For example, my friends whom I have classes, tennis and meals with are also the same people who are my study buddies, the ones that could explain to me what does terms of trade mean or whether the reasons behind imperialism was more aggressive than defensive.

And they're amazing people. It is never about competition among us; of who can score higher marks or get more As. No, in fact we got excited for the other if he/she did score higher marks or such. I've friends who I could reach to in the middle of the night just to ask an Economics question, snapped a photo of the question and sent it to him via Whatsapp and got a speedy, precise response in return. KY has a very positive, helpful student body and it's really up to you whether you want to be a part of it, make full use of the advantage or otherwise.

So yes, half the battle has been fought. Another year to go and this one shall not get any easier. A2 year, I think that's when the real deal begins.

Not exactly looking forward to it but it's time to mentally prepare for it. The other half of the battle is just about to get even more ruthless.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

After A Year

Today marks my 1st year of wearing the Hijab. I never knew I would last this long but Alhamdulillah :)

It all started with a twist of fate. Followed by a subtle shock to the system. Then an embrace in the heart. After awhile, a change from deep within. And finally, you move on. Like it was just any other day.

To be honest, if it wasn't because I had gone to IIUM in the first place, I would probably still remain Hijab-less. Trotting around in my summer dresses or plunging neckline shirts. Hence, like I said, it all started with a twist of fate. A blessing in disguise even though the decision to wear it came all of a sudden with my admittance into IIUM.

I was still getting used to the new look. Frankly speaking, it wasn't easy. I had to change my wardrobe (a good reason to go shopping though!), figure out which Hijab style suit me best, at the same time having doubts whether I made the right decision or not. There were days when I missed looking at the old me. The one who could wear whatever I wanted, getting the hair blown by the windy air and those summer dresses that I loved were still kept inside my wardrobe. I still played dress-ups with those dresses in front of the mirror. On my own, of course. It got worst when I was having a good hair day but I can't seem to walk around outside with it.

I think it's perfectly normal to feel that way especially if you just started wearing it. It was after all, a subtle shock to the system. You cope with it in different ways. Though I felt the best decision I ever made was not when I first decided to wear the Hijab in IIUM.

Instead, the best decision I made was when I decided to continue wearing it even after I have left IIUM for good. The initial reason I wore it was because of the university's requirement then the second reason to continue wearing it was because it didn't feel right to only wear it inside the university compound and take it off elsewhere. But when I left IIUM, I wasn't tied to the initial reason anymore therefore was free from the second reason as well. I could easily un-don the Hijab if I wanted to.

But I didn't.

Because by then I already embraced it in my heart. I finally got my niat right. Now, I'm wearing it not because of some official requirement or rules but because I want to. I do it for myself but most importantly, I do it for Allah, too. He has given me so much in the past years that it is only fair of me to realize how blessed I've been and walk on the path to become a better Muslim.

The path hasn't ended, though. I've a long way to go. There is plenty of room for improvements for me. From the clothes I wear to my words and actions to my niat and obligations. I can only hope this first year of wearing the Hijab also marks a better me.

I'm here now. And I'm here to stay.

Boo yaaa! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Turning 19

I'm 19 today. Reaching final year of teenagehood. Honest to goodness, I feel OLD! But it has a nice feeling to it. The feeling of hitting another milestone in my life, knowing that my past 19 years hadn't been a complete waste of time.

I wasn't too excited about my birthday this year compared to the years before. Probably because I'm the midst of my exams (had Psychology paper on the same day. How sucky was that?!) but 19 is quite a number, isn't it?

I'm trying to sound all meaningful and melancholic about this birthday post but mehh, failing miserably. It had been a long day for me. Had AS exams, classes and homework, played tennis, 2 hours of History night class and discussions, socialising with college friends throughout the day. I felt like a 'super student' today. But the best part was when, as we were all coming down the stairs after our History class, I saw a group of people in the dimness of the night and they suddenly burst into a 'Happy Birthday' song.

It was a birthday surprise for me and Dylan, who had her birthday on the same day. They surprised us with two boxes of Wondermilk cupcakes and then everyone just lingered around, enjoying the cupcakes and chit-chatting. Such a wonderful gesture by these people considering that it's the exam season and they were probably busy studying in their chalets or the RC before this. Thank you, guys. I was touched :)

Coming back to my failed deep, thoughful post on turning 19, all I've to say is another year has passed. A year older now, hopefully a year wiser, too. What does it feel like being 19? I don't know, it has only been a day. I'll get back to you on that.

My one birthday wish on this 19th year is that Allah will give me enough strength and patience as I weave my way through getting where I want to be. I'm only 19 but I've plenty of big dreams of my own and of other things, too. This is only the beginning of everything.

Yeaahh, I'm rambling. I should really go to bed now. Zzzzz.

Thank you Allah for the past amazing 19 years. I had a great day turning 19.

Here's to more years to come. So many more, hopefully. Cheers! :)

P/S Also, read this amusing, quirky birthday post by my Mum. Made me tear up a little when reading it. Enjoy.