(spoiler: this will be a wordy and less photo-y post. you were warned!)
photo credit to Tiqah
According to my university’s ‘legends’, when the Jacarandas bloom, it means that exams are on their way (read: doom). And with exams fast approaching (as in next week for me!!), this also marks my final semester of my first year. Which also means: I’m nearing the end of my first year of university already?!
The Thing About Time
The first thing that comes to mind with that statement is how fast time is going. But the weird thing is that while I found myself wondering where the time has gone and having to remind myself I’m already in the month of October, I’ve also found myself chanting the words, “just one more month. hold on for just one more month till you can go home,” and marking each day off the calendar, wishing time could fast forward so that I could finally be on the plane ride back home.
So much past and future nonsense going on in my mind this October that it has me pacing back and forth, not being able to really focus on the present; on the Now. So while October has been leaning into more of the uneventful side, the spaces were filled instead with the mountain of assignments to be submitted (that weighed most of my grades this semester and got me questioning how that’s possible given that the semester has been filled with so much work already?) and the books that were read (I’ve been marathon-ing the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas and I’m basically a hardcore fan at the moment, especially now that I’ve just finished the latest book in the series, Empire of Storms. SO MUCH FEELS. A blog post on all my recent – a.k.a since August – reads will be up sometime next month, probably!) and of course, breakdowns and so much swirling thoughts that I’m on the verge of word-vomitting all over this post!
I turned twenty in October – a big feat, especially since it’s my first birthday spent away from home and my family. I definitely felt the emptiness and the absence but I really appreciated getting the birthday wishes and birthday songs – so much love, nonetheless. (Plus, having Nandos and milk tea at dinner time might have made things a tad bit better that day, too. HEHE.)
Alhamdulillah, it’s a true blessing to have turned twenty. I get teased a lot and have people joking about how I’m no longer a ‘teen’ and that I’m basically ‘ancient’ now. But I really believe that it’s such a blessing and I can’t see how it can be a negative thing at all. I mean, I will probably always be a kid at heart – there’s no stopping this High School Musical-loving, childish and playful heart of mines – but I really appreciate and look at turning twenty as a milestone reached and an achievement.
October had lots of opportunities to reflect and gain some insights on things, but it was the last Friday in October that stood out the most to me. It was spent with an all-girls Jemaah prayers, a homely dinner and a string of really memorable, wonderful and meaningful activities at the Muttahad house – all of which I really appreciated and really resonated with me.
And there’s a couple of things I want to share from that night. First is about niat. A senior of mines shared how important niat or intention is in whatever you are doing. And in my case, it is regarding studying. As a Muslim/Muslimah, it’s very important to remind yourself of your niat, or your intention, before, during and after studying. Or in doing anything really. We’re in this world to prepare for something bigger after – for akhirat. And to remind yourself, again and again, is important to keep steadfast and istiqamah. To keep your chin up and keep motivated. Refresh and remind yourself of niat, and In sha Allah, you’ll find ease in whatever you’re doing.
Another thing we talked about was challenges. We face so many challenges in our lives, to different degrees and to different effects, all according to our strengths – the strengths that Allah believes in us to have. And I think what I found striking is that, when asked the question “what is the most challenging thing for you?”, we all have different answers. And that just goes to show that all of us perceive different things to be challenging or that we find different challenges to be difficult in different ways.
I think this really resonated with me because the truth is, for the whole year, I’ve found myself being in the receiving end of “you don’t get to complain”. A lot of people take a look at me, and my course, and say to my face that I “have it easy”, that whatever stress, conflict or difficulty I’m having isn’t something they deem to be even close to their struggles. And so anytime I complain, I get pushed aside without acknowledgement, without concern. And it gets me.
It has gotten to me from the very first few times I hear people say things like “oh your course is way too easy. listen to MY struggles-” and “you call that hard? listen to what I’M going through”. And for a while there, I shut my eyes, shove my concerns down my throat and listened. Trust me when I tell you that I am always all-ears; that I am always up to listening to what you have to say. But there are moments when I wish those favours could be returned and that I could get a chance at saying how I feel – stressed over assignments, down with homesickness, drowning in insecurities – without being told that I don’t deserve to feel those things. You know what I’m saying?
Different people have different struggles and perceive their struggles differently. And it might just be me but I strongly believe that there is no such thing as “you are worrying over nothing”. No. People will worry about things because that is what worries them. It might not be anything worrying to you but it IS to them. And it’s okay to not feel the same way, but what’s not okay is saying to them that they’re being ridiculous for worrying or that they don’t get to complain.
The point I’m trying to get across, I guess, is that we all go through different things and these things have different meanings for each person. And that the right to complain or to sweat out or to FEEL, is not yours. It’s everyone’s respectively. And everyone needs that r-e-s-p-e-c-t, you know? /concludes rant/ /deep breath/
And so those are the main insights that I guess, in truth, have been festering in my mind for months but I see them come to light the most in October and I just feel that it’s good to share those kinds of feelings because you never know who else might feel the same way or are in need of hearing those things.
With October behind us, I think it’s only right to now start looking forward (or should I really stop pacing and just focus on the now?). Some of the things I’m looking forward to are new book releases (Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg!), finishing my first year of uni (two more weeks and I’m done!) and of course, going back home to Bruland (insert hearts and happy tears and just quite honestly TEARS).
Another post is coming up soon to which I will insert a sneak peak photo of!
photo credit to Nora
/cue the fantasical music in the background/
I am really excited to share this post on the blog. It’s definitely something I’ve had so much fun doing and had great help with as well, HEHE. Till the next post!
With love, Iween.