My summer officially ended today, as I returned to school for what I truly hope is my second-to-last semester. I've resolved to strive harder in school this semester than I have in the past--something that I think I can do since a number of burdens have been lifted from my shoulders.
But as I look back over the last couple of months, I realize that it has been a wild ride. It has snagged me in a few places, and I stopped to lick my wounds--wounds that are now turning in to scars, some larger than others. So I just wanted to share my thoughts and reflections as I look back.
I decided in the spring that I would not be taking any classes over the summer. I knew that meant that I would have to forego any chance of graduating in the fall. If I had taken summer school, it would have been possible, but I was burnt out on many levels. My attitude towards school had become largely apathetic, and my participation in class about as low as you can imagine. But aside from school I was still working and organizing things for the masjid, and delivering presentations for school groups at the masjid and elsewhere. Another reason I opted out of summer school was simply that I couldn't afford it. But I really needed a break--and I didn't even realize how much I needed it.
But once school finished I started working full time, 40 hours a week. And that was light! My work never came home with me, I never had deadlines for projects hanging over my head, no tests to study for, no homework assignments, or anything like that. And with that, when I came home from work I could easily tend to things that during school often got little attention--like dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and a dusty bookcase.
Since the masjid was offering a variety of classes on weeknights after maghrib, I made a point to start attending them. Going every night turned out to be too much for me, and eventually I was only going to one class in the week. But alhamdulillah, I haven't missed a single session of that class (except for when it was cancelled), and by sticking through it I've been able to get some really valuable notes that I've posted on my blog!
I also volunteered to help the Youth program, which had a schedule organized for middle and high school with different activities on Friday nights. I took over the "education" portion and prepared some videos to show them. That ended up falling through in about a month, since truly the communication was just sub par, with the girls not knowing where/when their activities were held and ultimately not showing up at all.
And there has been the tajweed course, which was really just amazing alhamdulillah. Br. Wisam Sharieff from the Bayyinah Institute came to Raleigh in June to teach a tajweed course, and alhamdulillah I've been able to continue taking the followups ever since. In the course he basically taught all the rules of tajweed, and in the followups we practice, learning a new surah from the 30th Juz each week, and reviewing the rules in that surah and reciting to an instructor. I really feel that taking this class has helped improve my relationship with the Qur'an--and it should, since now I'm reading Qur'an much much much more often, and much more easily.
There have also been some unhappy times this summer. When my roommate got married and I became temporarily homeless, and then my own engagement was broken off. These two overlapping circumstances made my life incredibly difficult for a little while, but alhamdulillah--with difficulty comes ease. I moved and now am relatively comfortably settled in my new place, and Allah SWT has brought someone else into my life to help heal my wounds.
I have since embarked on a fitness plan that so far has helped me lose an astonishing 14 pounds, and I purchased a bicycle that, though exhausting, makes me truly happy to ride. So alhamdulillah for everything. The summer is over and life moves on. And now I'm back in school trying to reacquaint myself with the concept of homework!