God, I miss writing here. This tiny space. Every time I flipped open my laptop this semester was for writing up my seminar, analyzing SPSS’s cryptic results, or stalking graduate school pages.
Over a week ago, I had turned in my last final exam at Birzeit University.
Graduation will be in about two weeks, marking the end of my little journey to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. Here is a tiny letter encompassing the things I’ve learned from the day I walked through BZU’ s gates:
You learn a lot in four years.
You learn about yourself. You find out that sometimes you are going to question where you are going and other times it feels like you’re not going anywhere. Breathe. You will come out more flexible, more experienced, more aware
You will meet people with honey hearts and embarrassing laughs. People who smile at you during your first year right before Arabic, Calculus, and Chemistry class start. People you’ll meet up at the Tamreed for passion fruit slush after gym class. These people will soon become your friends, even after you sworn that college was for “serious, adult, academic life” and that you didn’t want to make any new friends. Oh, my days.
You will walk through campus to what seems like the end of the earth to reach your faculty. You’ll miss those eight minute walks- six if your rushing to class. You’ll miss the 3amo custodian that is always picking napkins or soda cans from the ground and the way he always responds to your “good mornings”.
You will dread first year Arabic classes and the way you felt like a foreigner wearing Arab skin. Soon, you’ll get used to speaking Arabic like you speak it at home. The words will finally find a space in mouth and feel like they belong. You’ll take Arabic 2 during your fourth year, and soon it will become one of your favorite subjects.
You will learn what it means to be Palestinian. You will see pictures of martyrs over the campus and you think of them. You think how you are easily walking among living martyrs.
Mama and Baba were right. They were always right.
You’ll eventually learn to accept your dual identity and how it makes you sometimes even special -( the good kind of special).
You’ll learn that people are not all like you, planning every second of their lives. These people can still succeed. You don’t always need a plan to know where you’re going. All that matters is that you’re doing something.
You will come to terms with yourself over things you’ve wanted to change. You will come to embrace your quirks and feel like your skin is home. This is growth.
Allah (SWT) is always listening. Reach.
You will overcome your biggest fears that have been gnawing at your skull since your teenage years. And guess what? You’ll realize that these things you were afraid of, were just really illusions.
You accept that you write and realize it’s no longer something you should hide or be ashamed of. Writing is a part of you. Accept your most intimate parts.
There are others who teach you simply by being themselves. You admire them from afar and pray to be like them one day.
Pray to the Creator of the seven Heavens and the Earth. Pray.
There are professors who will encourage you to grow and for them, you will always be thankful.
You make mistakes and say things you shouldn’t. You learn. My God, do you learn. It hurts. The learning. The unfolding, becoming, and unbecoming.
Your old friendships become even deeper. A bond of sisterhood.
You will actually start a blog (!) . You will start posting your writings. Soon, you’ll get opportunities to write and share yourself with others. This will no longer scare you.
Mama was right about everything. As always.
You learn that you’re smart. Seriously. Not the kind the SATs measure. You can figure out things, you like analyzing and connecting the dots. More importantly, you’re not afraid to be smart anymore. You learn that you deserve to take up space. You become confident. Unapologetic.
You’re still that girl who knows where she’s going and who she wants to be. You’ve still got direction .
You become kinder.
Your heart is softer.
Your hands are open.