Jan 5, 2012

College 101: Discovery

I have always this pesky, powerful impulse inside me to choose a path less traveled or to mess up things whenever my life gets a little too mundane. 

Lets go down this road, see where it will take you or Lets mess things up just to see how screwed up beyond repair we can be

Case in point: I was once offered a place in a prestigious public university to study a well-respected course. But I of course, declined. I was not quite sure why... It was a course I absolutely love and the college fee was cheap since it was a public university.  I guess at the time I wasn't ready yet to set my future in stone, which was exactly what will happen had I accepted the offer. I preferred my future to be vague. Vague meant endless possibilities. Infinite potential.

So I chose my current college - small, private and ungodly expensive. I will be studying a course that interest me, and which will give me a bright future, insyaAllah. And most importantly, a degree in that course will give me numerous possibilities of what my career can be. People might not call me "Doctor", but I can still be one by way of PhD since this course is pretty research intensive. Before I went, I prayed to Allah to please, please let this college be the right place for me to study, to grow as a person and make me a better Muslim than I was ever before.

I was thrown into a foreign environment, alone and scared as shit. Everywhere I turned, I am surrounded by non-Malays and non-Muslims. People who have different way of life from me. This was a big deal because I had spent all my schooling years prior to college with all my friends Malay and Muslims. There were times in the beginning when I started to doubt my decision and feared I had made a mistake in coming here. But it was okay, I keep telling myself. I chose this college specifically because I want to get out of my comfort zone. And my parents had trusted my decision. They love me so they sent me here even though they didn't understand why in the world I didn't accept the first offer and yet they supported me anyway.

And after a while, it really was okay. I grown and learn a lot here. My life in college, in short, is all about discovery.

I discovered that there are all kinds of people in college and there are always more to people than meets the eye. That sloppy, shabby looking guy who dress like a runaway really a top student, the shy girl who always wear lace and pastel sitting next to me last summer is a drummer, how cool is THAT? And foe sometimes appear like the most angelic of a person.

I learned that students here are smart. They question things, test a lecturer to see how good he or she is, keep up with world news, enjoy attending live orchestra, capable of spitting out interesting facts and give insightful opinions, and if they are Malaysian - very much aware of the political state of this country. And these students do not look like nerds at all.
I started to identify myself first and foremost as a Muslim, secondly as Hana and only then as a Malay. 

And I learned that some people don't really know many practicing Muslims other than me so all my actions are automatically associated with Islam.  My character and behavior can be either an effective da'wah tool or a turn-off that prevent people from learning what Islam truly is all about.

I meet kindred spirit who love books as much as I do, potterheads as much as I am and join a club for movie-obsess like me.

I battled insecurities on daily basis, embrace differences in people, hiding from procrastination (cos I know I'll lose if I face it head-on. Fo' shizzle), learn to explain about Islam and defend my faith, made mistakes and that it's okay to change if you don't like the person you are now . 

I discover learning can be fun. Being reckless sometimes is okay. And morning classes suck.

And then I realized that discovery is a continuous process in college. It is the matter of opening yourself up for the experience. 

Perhaps I will start a college series posts, to help document my life in college. A memoir for me to remember. To ponder. And to reflect.

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