Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Long Undergraduate Road!

I always enjoy talking about how I entered Islamic/Gender Studies. So here I go again.

In college, I started off as a biology major, totally planning to become a doctor (childhood dream.! No, wait, dream since birth! Consider it Desi influence, eh!). Studied bio for like 2.5 years, studied other things on the way (like philosophy and English), decided I wanted other things instead, fell in love with English, so changed to English. Did English for a semester or so, discovered I wasn't satisfied with it (the kinds of classes offered at my school didn't satisfy my urge), so changed to philosophy. My goal at this point was to become a lawyer :D

But then I noticed that the school had only a few exciting classes in philosophy, and I wasn't satisfied now either.:|

SO!! I decided to go for Women's Studies ... but the university didn't have a Women's Studies major, and I could only minor in it. So I chose Journalism as my other major.

In the meantime, I changed universities :D There, I decided I was gonna settle for Journalism and Women's Studies ('cause here, too, no Women's Studies major), and, c'mon now, I HAD to save the worllllld, yeah?

In the meantime, also, I re-considered my dream of medicine and made sure to finish my pre-med courses and take extra sciences -- just in case. 'Cause all this time, my parents were very disappointed that I wasn't intelligent enough to become a doctor. (Yara kho! These Easterners!) Once these sciences were done, I decided I was crazy for having re-considered, so I ran back to my selected major(s) -- Women's Studies and Journalism.

THENNNN ... I had long talks with different professors and advisers in Journalism and discovered that I don't *have* to major in Journalism or study Journalism in order to become a journalism or to go into the media.

So I had the same dilemma again: couldn't settle on a major! Decided I wanted more :shock:
In the meantime, I ran to these Pashtun friends, telling them I don't know what to major in and I'm supposed to be graduating soon! :| And, so, some suggested anthropology, some economics, some journalism, and so on ... they were like all of these will be of help to Pukhtuns in the long run.

But, nope, they didn't meet Qrratugai's desires :S So I took all these random classes to see which ones fit my interests and personality.

So, I took classes on the Quran, Hadith, Middle East, South Asia, etc. There, I met these brilliant Islamic Studies and Cultural Studies professors and was like, "OMG OMG OMG! Where have I BEEN! This is EXACTLY what I want!"

And so ...

My major now? Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies + Islamic Studies! :D And, omg, the BEST thing is that it deals with Afghanistan and Pukhtuns, toooooooo. And so I get to write all these fascinating papers and read all these lovely books in my "spare" time and talk for hours and hours about what I read and write, and the feeling is ammmmazing, guys!

So I SO got what I wanted in the end, a major in which at least four of my passions are combined: Pukhtun, Women, Islam, and history!

It's the BBBBEST thing I could do for myself and the world.

Oh, and this doesn't mean I've stopped taking classes in the other fields. I'm still in women's studies/gender-related courses, English/writing, philosophy, and journalism, but my official major is the Islamic Studies one :D

P.S. My parents are still not pleased, and my poor mother thinks that I must be being taught by Salman Rushdie :P And I've to remind her almost every other week that Salman Rushdie is not a scholar on Islam, and only renown scholars of Islam who have a PhD in Islamic Studies and Arabic are allowed to teach in our department. Still, according to her, Muslims shouldn't pursue Islamic Studies in the west. I'll write more on this another time, though.


  1. What an interesting journey you have been on! I met the coolest Muslims EVER in my Islamic culture and religion classes. Seriously, just this amazing array of intellectuals with such varying ways of viewing Islam, Quran, and Muslims in general!

  2. Hiiii, Sarah! How are ya?
    Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

    I know what you mean. I love classes like that! I met some of the coolest Muslims ever, very intelligent and rational, at a forum through the MSA at my university called "Broadening." The idea is to "broaden" your horizons, but unfortunately, it doesn't work for all. Only a couple manage to meet the desired goal. But, meh, still not too bad. It was such, SUCH a happy moment when we met, too! We couldn't believe each other existed :D

    By the way, have you changed the link to your blog?

  3. I did change the link. I called it "spring cleaning." lol ;) My new link is connected to these comments.

  4. lolz interesting...within all these changes you'll find your way..and believe me there are many others out there i know that are in the same path


  5. Thanks for commenting, Ousai Jaaney! :D

  6. This post has me reminiscing of our many conversations we had during your days in organic chemistry class. I'm so glad you followed your passion. :)

  7. Welcome to my blog, Dr. H.! And thank you so much for dropping by! :)

    Infinite thanks for all those long conversations we used to have about my career path during my most confused stage ever! They helped me find myself and my passions.

  8. LOL "Muslims shouldn't pursue Islamic studies in the west" The Mulana sahib who used to teach my father (Peshawar 1970-80-ish I guess) used to see him reading English books and be like "Angrezi ezda kawal gunna da" XD. There was this time it had rained and the garden and the porch were covered in unearthed earthworms and the Mullah was stepping on them feverishly I was like "da sa kawei =O?" - response "da de maar bachi di khatmawma ye"... I digress ..no wait I've digressed to the point where I've forgotten what I wanted to say in the first place...you sure tried your hand at everything didn't you.


Dare to opine :)

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