Just turned in my last final at UCLA :(
Just turned in my last final at UCLA :(
It took me until this very moment, with less than one week left of school, for me to realize how sad I am about ending my undergraduate educational career. I have been lucky in the sense that I was accepted to my dream school. I enjoyed my two years at UCLA without ever taking a day for granted. Each day I walked by Royce hall I reminded myself of the hard work it took to get to this very place. Surely I could have focused a little bit more on my academics but I don’t regret focusing on my social life. Before arriving at UCLA I literally had no friends. I spent my days at community college alone, with minimal interaction with other students. During breaks I would sit in my car and sing to the radio for hours. I was very focused and determined in what I wanted, but I was also very introverted. It was at UCLA that I made friends, some that I hope will last a lifetime. So even though my academic record could have been stronger in numbers, it is the experience that I gained out it that matters to me most. I learned to be social, make mistakes, gain friends, lose friends, make more mistakes, improvise, compete, and to challenge myself past my limits. I knew this day would come but I am sad it had to come so soon. I am leaving my safety net and being cast out into the real world where now I have to find a job, new friends and essentially a new life. Humans like the familiar, its comfortable which is why my heart aches a little right now. But safe is not what I want for myself. I want adventure. I want challenges. I want to live not thinking about the things I would like to do but instead doing them. Life is scary but being afraid to live it is even worst. So its with a knot in my throat and a smile on my face that I start saying my goodbyes to this place. In fact I think I will leave a little piece of my heart tucked in this little corner of Powell Library.
Procrastination at its best with Christian… Going to miss being a student that’s for sure
MUSLIM FOR A DAY
In a post 9/11 America where a person can be accused of being a terrorist solely based on their appearance I find myself taking the challenge of being “Muslim” for a day. Although I have always considered myself to be “culturally catholic”, the idea of wearing a head scarf or “hijab” has lingered in my mind for quite some time. As a student of Anthropology it has always been an interest of mine to understand how Muslims, particularly women, perceive themselves in America and how other’s perceive them. I knew that by putting on a hijab I would further categorize myself as a minority. Not only would I be non-white, but I would be Muslim and more importantly a woman. Being fully aware of this and understanding the anti-Islamic sentiment within the U.S, I decided it was something I needed to do.Today, thanks to the MSA at UCLA, I had the opportunity to do just that. It was Muslim awareness week and female students were invited to wear a hijab today for as long as they felt comfortable. At around 12 pm this afternoon I went to the booth and was given a hijab to wear. Interested in the reaction that I would get from strangers I tried paying close attention to people in and around my environment. What I immediately noticed was that it became hard for me to make eye contact. People would quickly divert their gaze to anywhere that was not my direction. I figured that they were trying to be “polite” and not stare but being accustomed to making eye contact I felt a little see-through. I went on with my day even making a 20 minute presentation in my linguistics class on Cuban Spanish wearing my hijab. By 4 pm I had gotten so used to the hijab that I forgot I had it on. Nothing too eventful happened at school besides not being able to make eye contact with strangers (which became really annoying after a while). It was not until I left school grounds that I got a “real” reaction from someone. I was at a restaurant just outside of Westwood when I decided to go up to the counter. There was a woman in front of me who didn’t seem to mind when I stepped up a little closer to her, that is until she turned around and saw my hijab. As soon as she saw me she took a huge side step and stared me down. Forgetting I had on the hijab I quickly apologized thinking I had simply startled her. But when I saw the look she gave me after staring at my head I soon realized that it was my appearance that she was uncomfortable with. Suddenly I felt like I wanted to take back my apology because I had just apologized for looking “Muslim” and I don’t think anyone should ever have to apologize for their appearance or their faith. The only thing I could think of was, “If only she knew I was Christian”. This woman knew nothing of my life, how I grew up, my morals, or anything that has to do with my person and despite that she was quick to make a judgement on me for being “Muslim”. I may not agree with many things the Qur’an has to say and although I personally would never convert to Islam I think people have to respect a persons choice in practicing the religion nonetheless. Tomorrow I will wear my hair down and go on with my life probably never thinking back on this incident. But wearing a hijab for one day is nothing compared to being a practicing Muslim woman who does not simply decide to not wear a hijab for one or two days because it is inconvenient. These women, despite what many Americans believe, are strong and brave for heading out in public on a daily basis even after running the risk of being put under scrutiny. What I experienced today was nothing in comparison to what these women have lived through and will continue living through and for that I think they are a true inspiration.