Assalamualaikum Wrt. Wbt.
My motivation for writing this post is because somehow students in my university, International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), love to ask this question “What is your age?” They don’t mean any harm because they just want to know if you are older, even by a year, so they can call you ‘kak’ as a sign of respect. But of cz, I banned everyone from calling me ‘kak’ but if they still insist, then okay laaaa…..
I won’t lie. At times being the oldest in class when everyone just passed their BIG 20 can be really awkward. Not only that I am 26, I am married too, and hence my perspective about life is totally different from my classmates when in reality we are sitting in the same class and discussing the same issue. At times I do get quite frustrated when I observed some of my classmates still acting as though they were teenagers. But I will always try to remind myself when I was in my early 20s and still in Singapore Management University (SMU). Well, I acted exactly like them. Unfortunately I realised it was… sadly normal.
This is where I wish to start this post proper.
I wish to propagate that it is really okay to take your time. It is okay to make some wrong decisions. There is no such thing as your life being wasted when you re-route your path. Keep searching for your purpose.
More often than not, no matter which part of the world we come from, we will always have this typical mentality that we have to enroll into a university right after pre-university – ‘A’ levels or diploma. In my honest opinion we have been deceived by society that the best path in life is to get a degree right after pre-U when in fact after pre-U, it is the best time to calm ourselves down, do some soul searching and go after what we are truly passionate of. We should not be too hasty in our decisions.
If I were to stay on in SMU, I would already have a picture of me hanging in my house with me in graduation robe while holding a scroll from Information Systems Management course. However, this was where I went wrong. My passion at that point of time was to be a Physical Education (PE) teacher. I did not take that extra effort to search on the procedure of being a PE teacher. Only when I was invited for an interview to be a teacher, they asked if I’ve gone through physical test. Of cz I did not. I was eligible for the other two local universities but I accepted SMU because it was just a 20 minutes bus ride from home. I JUST NEEDED A DEGREE. ANY DEGREE.
Even when I was in SMU, I went for the physical test but failed. I did my very first solat istikharah on whether I should withdraw myself from the miserable situation I was in (I cried every night cz I just could not be best friends with programming). With Allah’s will, I did. Right after, I was even more determined to pass the physical test, and guess what? I FINALLY PASSED! I was just one step away from becoming a PE teacher – to get myself into that interview room again.
I thought I was finally gonna be a PE teacher but Allah SWT has better plans for me. I was unexpectedly being introduced to my current university, IIUM. I was doing some soul-searching and because of the whole situation I was in, I just wanted to be away and know my Lord better. It was this sudden change of heart which I believe was hidayah from Allah SWT that made me dropped everything and just go for it. That was the best decision I have ever made with the will and mercy of Allah SWT.
So, at the age of 22, I became a year 1 student again. But this time round an IIUM student and joyfully doing Psychology. It was less than six months of me being in IIUM when Allah SWT had the best, life-changing plan for me. I became someone’s wife. I took one and a half years of study leave just to accompany my husband continuing his Masters in Jordan. MasyaAllah, it was the best and longest honeymoon one could ask for. So after the prolonged honeymoon I got back and Alhamdulillah I am already in my year 3. Although I am sad cz my batch mates have just graduated and my close friend no longer in IIUM, I still am appreciative.
You know, when things do not go the way we expect, it is hard to see the wisdom that lies behind the unpredictable happening at that point of time. In fact, Allah SWT might not even show the wisdom instantly. He might allow a few days, months, years to pass by before He shows the positives that come due to the unexpected happening and that’s when we should grab opportunities that Allah SWT has generously provides us with.
Nonetheless I am not saying at all that I am better than anyone who took the typical route in life. In fact, this is not even the message I am intending to send. I are not here to judge, but hoping to widen our worldview, InsyaAllah. I still have a loooong way to go in bettering myself.
Alhamdulillah. That leap of faith has granted me a lifetime companion whom has greatly contributed in my spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth. I am more critical in my thoughts and perspectives. To sum up for my education, my husband always pushes me to be at my very best. I always believed I was not a bright student but my husband proved me otherwise. He makes sure I reap every opportunity that comes by.
So yes. Don’t worry if you are a step or steps behind peers your age. There’s no one right rule of life. Doesn’t mean you do not get that degree you are a lesser human being. You should not be defined by the materials of life. Whatever you do, excel in it. Seek beneficial knowledge till our last breath because being knowledgeable is obligatory on every Muslim. Be a good Muslim who are able to bring goodness to others. The actions we take in this life will determine our place in the afterlife. We only have one life, so let’s live to the fullest where meeting Allah SWT in our purest form is our ultimate goal. Ameen.