Public Service Announcements
Date Added: Thursday, May 9th 2013
Date Added: Thursday, April 18th 2013
See all PSAs.
|Written by Maha Ansari|
|Saturday, 18 August 2012 19:24|
Every August, I am bombarded with reminders that I shall soon be returning to the land of textbooks and lessons, exams and essays. Though weeks remain until the day arrives, the developers of television and radio commercials broadcasting sales on everything from multifunctional pens to glow-in-the-dark staplers, and the designers of flyers featuring glossy images of students laden with stacks of books and the symbolic apple, can’t seem to contain their excitement at the prospect of us going back to school.
This September, I make the leap from high school to university. I feel that I speak for a great many others when I confess that I feel not an overwhelming sense of excitement as September races nearer, but rather, a sea of conflicting emotions. My spirits are simultaneously dampened by visions of heavy workloads, and thrilled by the prospect of advancing to a higher level of education— one which will bring with it a new set of challenges, enabling me to grow in both knowledge and experience.
Though I have attended numerous orientation sessions, engaged in lengthy chats with older students in my program regarding what is to be expected, and gone so far as to discuss with future professors the best means by which I can succeed in their classes, I feel that the most significant aspect of my university preparation is yet to be perfected: my connection with my faith.
Throughout high school, I often faced occasions on which I felt overwhelmed by a multitude of responsibilities. Between striving to keep up with an ever-increasing mountain of assignments, editing my school newspaper, managing part-time work outside of school, and ensuring that I allotted time for my beloved family and friends, I felt that I was testing the limits of my mental and physical being. I wondered whether my efforts were worth the exhaustion, the late nights spent deciphering passages in textbooks, the anxiety with which I anticipated letters of acceptance from universities. It was on these occasions that I truly grew to appreciate the teachings of my faith.
As I strived to pray regularly, supplicate when adversity caused me to stumble, and read the Quran with translation, the challenges before me seemed to evaporate as quickly as did the apprehension with which I had met them. For every obstacle, there was an Islamic virtue with which it was conquered; for every anxiety, a Quranic dua with which it was banished. Indeed, when I crossed the stage at graduation, with a diploma in hand, amidst the glowing smiles of my parents, I knew, in my heart, that it was Allah to whom I owed my success. It was He who had instilled in me the strength, the sabr (patience), and the dedication which enabled me to survive a year in which I truly could not afford to lose sight of the academic requirements which I would have to meet, and, more importantly, the Higher Power to whom I would answer when worldly success became futile.
It is an immense blessing, to us students, that Ramadan fell just prior to the start of new school year. Indeed, many of us had the luxury of sleeping well into the afternoon -- ostensibly to alleviate the strain of the fasts -- but this is not the blessing of which I speak. We were also endowed with the best possible means of preparing for school, for the virtues we upheld during the holy month are the very principles which will enable us to succeed in our studies. Sabr— patience— will allow us to maintain self-discipline during the long hours we must spend completing assignments, preparing for assessments, and coping with the myriad challenges that our studies will draw into our paths. Praying and reading Quran with regularity, practices on which we placed particular emphasis during Ramadan, are habits we can carry forth into the year ahead, thus pleasing our Creator and enabling us to be showered with His blessings.
Ultimately, this devotion to our faith, which was drilled into our spirit during the blessed month of fasting, will allow us to bear in mind that a poor grade, a difficult exam, or an unreasonable professor are but petty trials, next to the lifelong test of our character that will determine our fate in the sight of Allah.
Maha Ansari will be joining Carleton University’s School of Journalism this fall. ■