And so ends the first year of my graduate studies in Connecticut. So far I have moved away from home, left behind my family and community, had to adjust to my new environment while seeking work, and found that when alone my biggest supporter (besides Allah insha’Allah) is my own desire to succeed. Alhumdulillah, Allah has opened up many doors for me (some of which I feel like I have been pushed through.. lol) and I am thankful for the continuous lessons. This year He has honored me with being the first Muslim Chaplain at a prestigious international school and has given me the opportunity to begin volunteering at a state prison. Had I stayed in California Allah knows best what I would be doing now!

But, in the end what did I learn? I did not come to Connecticut for her strange weather, nor for her (lack of) city life. I must admit though that her winter was a pleasure, and so too the color of her trees. And even though I have traveled 3,000 miles away from home it cannot compare to the amount of traveling I have done now within my soul. As my hopes for the future have converted from prayers to possibilities I feel the weight of religious responsibility growing on my chest. Any man or woman cannot help the fact that as they seek more religious knowledge, and struggle to act upon as much of it as they can, they become willingly- or unwillingly- an example for others to rely on.

I know I could have done better this year, but I hope that what I have done so far is acceptable by my Lord and those around me can forgive me my shortcomings. The academic year has ended, but seeking to better one’s self does not stop. I have become more realized to the fact that a student of religious knowledge is never beyond the boundaries of their classroom. Each moment we are either gaining, or letting something slip away.

This ends my first year here in Connecticut, and God knows best how many years remain.

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