Sunday, February 14, 2016

Where in the world have I been?

Assalam Aleykum Warahmatullahy Wabarakatuh
Niaje Guys!!

You’re all probably wondering what has been keeping me so occupied, seeing as the last time I posted something was about over a month ago. I posted on my Facebook page about two weeks ago that I wasn’t dead or anything of the sort, and that posts were coming up soon. Then again I doubt that two weeks later can still be dubbed as soon. Well I felt the need to explain myself and so that is what I’m doing now. Basically, I was busy settling back into school and freaking out about life.

Firstly, this is my second last semester of uni and my graduation is in August in shaa Allah. Let’s just say your girl has been trying to not lose it under all the pressure of maintaining a good GPA and all the other responsibilities that come with my life in uni, not to mention my personal life. We could genuinely say that my life in uni is kind of like a profession and then my personal life is just that, my personal life. And it is all quite hectic. Not that I’m complaining, I actually prefer having a tonne of stuff to do rather than having nothing to do at all.

I’m guessing by now you’re thinking, Kadzo, every semester is stressful and ‘professionally’ exhausting for you, what in the world makes this one so different? Well, fear. That is the one word that describes how I truly felt at the onset of this semester. I’m an International Relations major taking a minor in Journalism and my passion has always been in journalism; however I let people talk me out of doing that because I was afraid that if I was to fail, everyone would be pointing fingers at me saying ‘we told you so’.

I remember one incident in primary school where my head teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had always admired news anchors and thought that would be a great way to earn some money. I had been told plenty of times that I was great with crowds and could speak quite eloquently and confidently. Anytime there was a school event, I would be called upon to say a prayer or a vote of thanks or even perform something, and I absolutely loved it. Not only did I love how much I enjoyed it, but I loved the recognition and attention it came with. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know how much of a Primadonna I am. And I honestly don’t see anything wrong with that. However when I answered my head teacher with the word journalism, she looked at me with eyes of dismay and said, “why would you want to do that?” You can imagine what kind of effect such words would have on a nine year old kid.

When I approached my family with my decision to pursue journalism, I realized that they were also completely against it, claiming that the Journalism field in Kenya was crowded and that I was too smart to waste my brains on journalism. So then I ended up in International Relations reluctantly, but then ended up falling madly in love with it. I’ve come to learn so much about the world and how politics plays such a crucial role in our everyday lives. Moreover, I came to learn much about Africa and began appreciating my land, its culture and diversity, which was contrary to how I felt about it before. It’s not that I hated my continent, it’s that my thinking was so westernized I literally began seeing Africa as the ‘dark continent’ which is extremely far from the truth.

When I realized that my uni offered minors, I was elated because that meant that I could pursue International relations as a major and Journalism as a minor; which is exactly what I decided to do. My concentration in my major is peace and conflict, and my concentration on my minor is broadcast media. As of now, I only have one IR course remaining which I am currently taking; Regional conflicts in Africa. Consequently that would mean the only remaining courses are my broadcast courses, which are quite intense, hence me freaking out. This semester I have two journalism courses both of which are extremely practical. It’s one thing to have to film every single week, edit and present it and then be graded on it and it’s another thing to be the only newbie to be in that class, filming, editing and presenting. Everyone else in my class is a Journalism major so they’ve basically had three whole years of training whereas I’m coming in as a first time student. I basically have to work twice or even thrice as hard as the other students just so I can compete at the same level as them and get a good grade; which is crucial as I don’t want to be getting grades that lower my GPA when I’m so close to graduation.

It’s quite challenging I must admit, and sometimes I even ask myself whether I’m capable, but I always remind myself of the verse from the Qur’an where Allah The Exalted says, “ Allah does not charge a soul except with that within its capacity.” Surah Baqarah, verse 286. This basically means that whatever you have on your plate, however stressful or daunting it may be, if it is on your path, then by Allah you have the strength and guts to survive it and be successful at it if you put in the work. And because I worked so hard at this course, I ended up performing even better than my classmates who are all journalism majors Alhamdulillah. So much so that there’s this one girl who I believe was the top student before I came along, who literally hates me because I’m doing so much better than her. I can’t help but feel bad about that but I won’t go around kissing ass just to get someone to like me when I didn’t even do anything wrong. Remember when I wrote about stopping girl hate? Yeah I still maintain my stance, why can’t we all just help each other out?

I can’t help but think about the late Steve Jobs when he said that the dots can only be connected looking back. As I look back on my journey, I’m actually really glad that I took IR as a major and Journalism as a minor which is something I never thought I would say. I love both courses passionately and I’m so grateful to Allah (sw) that He had my back through all this. I’m happy with where I am and how far I’ve come Alhamdulillah. This definitely doesn’t mean that I have everything figured out, but I do feel confident that Allah (sw) has a plan for me; and for you too. We may plan, but Allah (sw) plans too, and He is the best of Planners. One thing I will say is never shy away from a challenge. You guys already know that I do not do so well with failure, but it such a crucial part of life that I feel teaches us more than success does. Don’t be afraid of doing something because you’re afraid of failing, that’s how you learn and grow.

So how do I survive uni you ask? I think ET the Hip Hop Preacher said it best:
“So when you fail a class, don’t drop it, don’t just stop going, you’re going to the end of that class. Because I want you to know something, when you start that class over the next semester, you won’t be starting from scratch, you won’t be starting from the bottom, because you’re already all the way up here. Now all you have to do is go a little further. So keep reaching, and keep climbing.”
Granted  no one likes to fail and even retake a class, but he has a good point. Keep pushing and keep climbing.