The College Experience – Part 2: Freshman Year Reflections

For many Muslims, the years of high school are the most difficult times to stay steadfast to one’s religion because it is the time when hormones kick in and people of the opposite gender mingle for about eight hours a day, Monday through Friday. And since humans are programmed to be attracted to ones of the opposite sex, it makes it very difficult to control one’s desire and follow the rules of Islam. Not only that, high school is also the sanctuary for gossip, lies and cheating, all of which are dangers of the tongue that we Muslims are told be keep calm and love allahaware of because they ruin friendships and lives. So I think its pretty fair to say that high school tests a major portion of one’s iman and starts the foundation of our youthful years.

When I started college in the fall of 2013, I noticed immediately the huge difference between college and high school: I suddenly found myself engrossed with an overabundance of freedom that was not there during high school. I live in an apartment at Toledo, OH. I was away from my parents watchful eyes and I did not have to answer to anyone for coming late or ask if I could go outside. It felt like being put out in the world for the first time, out in the wild. I felt like my religion was being tested the most during that time. I had to watch myself, who I hung out with and what I did in my free time. I found myself staying on campus a lot and I asked myself what I was doing while staying on campus. For most Muslims, we grow with my parents’ watchful eyes. So we watch what we do, what we eat, and who we talk to. However, we soon grow up and we get put into the world on our own. We find out who we are and what we stand for. Our character builds and so do our principals.

I finished my first semester of college and I understood what everyone meant when they said “The person you are in college will stay with you for the rest of your life”. College is definitely a place where one understood what he or she wants and the values he or she lives by. As a Muslim, I realized the significance behind a scarf, not just the physical aspects but the spiritual aspects also, behavior wise. My facial expressions when regarding men outside of my muharam and how I speak with others needed to be adjusted so that I do not act in a way that will displease Allah. College forced me to continue perfecting my faith and strive to become a better believer.

~Tazkia Al-Bari


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