Tuesday, 12 December 2006

3 days to go…

I fell asleep sprawled on my desk around 8pm and I woke up at 3am with a crick in my neck to my phone’s incessant beeping (I must figure how to stop it doing that), telling me I have 17 missed calls and 12 messages.

Cairo is so peaceful at night. Fajr prayer is still in half an hour or so, so utter silence permeates the air, although in a while the city of “a thousand and one minarets” will sound with multiple calls to prayer.

The weather has been slightly schizophrenic lately, and I wake up not knowing if I should wear a jacket or a shirt. At night though, it’s freezing; I only sat in my balcony for 10 minutes and my teeth are chattering.

I have three more days of classes to go. In those three days I somehow have to squeeze in a final, a presentation, a 15 page paper, a take-home final, a project and somehow attend a wedding. With so much to do, it’s no wonder I fell asleep—today I was supposed to give a presentation in Future University on how to set up a publication and how to sustain and develop it, but unfortunately I had to send my senior Arabic editor in my stead, since I literally couldn’t spare the couple of hours needed to go and present.

Last Monday’s honours assembly’s pictures were out today, and I look so silly wedged between my mom and dad. A picture of my friends and I was in Kelmetna, an Arabic magazine, so we’re famous lol. This Friday is our Fall ’06 graduating class group photo and I will make time to attend, although I have to take my history final on Saturday and not the following Thursday since I’m travelling to Dubai on Sunday.

Cap & Gown photos have been postponed to late January, which is good since I definitely don’t want to miss those! I’m thinking of writing and submitting an entry for the graduation speech; it would be a great honour to be chosen and insha’ Allah I will be.

So…my job plans? First of all, I’ve decided to postpone getting my masters degree for a while; I think working will help me get some much needed experience first, especially since I’ve never really interned anywhere.

I’ve had several job offers so far, but nothing has really appealed to me as of yet. I’ve decided to ‘sleep’ a while (both literally and figuratively) as soon as I’m done with finals, travel all of January, and be back at the end of it for two of my best friends’ weddings, a career conference hosted by the CAPS office, and of course, graduation. And then…who knows?

Until next time,
Salam Alaykum,

Sunday, 3 December 2006

10 days to go...

Technically there are 23 days to go, but I’m not counting weekends or the week of exams because I only have one final in the final week.

10 days. That’s only 26 more classes, 2 projects, 2 presentations, 1 paper, and 3 finals to go. And the ca c’est tout.

I submitted my yearbook application on Thursday, and it still hasn’t sunk in that these are my final university days. Today I had an all day session with my management course group, and it hit me that this is probably the last weekend I’ll spend hurriedly patching up a business plan and figuring out if the doctor would like an advert or just sample ads.

A couple of Danish friends I met in the Litaarafuu conference I went to last April and met up with in Denmark were in Egypt last week for a conference, and I got the chance to attend some of their sessions (I was even lucky enough to meet George Isaac, leader of the Kefaya movement, and attend a Q & A session with him).

One of the participants asked me what I ‘do’ and I realized with a start that in 10 days I can’t say “I’m still a student.” I’ll be out in the big bad world and then what? What will I ‘do?’ Another friend of mine I met in another conference (MOIC) is leaving Egypt and traveling to England to continue her studies there…but what do I plan to do?

I’m a good student, I made honors, and I’ve participated in many activities in my four years at university. But will it be enough to get the job I want?

Questions that refuse to leave my head, and are keeping me from enjoying the time I have left. The future is uncertain, but I will try my best to simply focus on being a student these last few weeks and on the things I won’t miss. Writing papers, handing my car keys to Hamdy my valet with a heavy heart wondering what shape I’ll find my car in when I get back, having to walk up five flights of stairs because the elevator isn’t working and so much more.

There is so much I am going to miss…but I have to be up in 5 hours to get back to university, so it’s salam for now…

Until next time,

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Give Life…

I donated blood yesterday at university, and I don’t think I can remember the last time I was so scared.

The Help Club booth to donate blood has been on campus for three days, and every time I left the Dimensions office I passed by it. And each and every time I felt guilty…it’s not like I don’t have blood to spare, and my excuse of not having time to go visit the hospital to donate blood didn’t wash.

So I gritted my teeth and went to fill in an application, but by the time I filled it in it was time for class so I told them I’d be back later. Obviously assuming I’d chickened out, the nurse simply told me “I’ll wait for you.”

All through a 70 minute screening of Ayatollah Khonemi’s reign in history class, I debated with myself…should I go? But what if it hurt? Were the needles clean What if I got infected?? Eventually I made up my mind.

I could donate money to the hospital, but anyone can do that, and there are some things money can’t buy. What if my blood could help save someone who could not get access to blood or enough money to buy it? The nurse in the booth told me that less than 50 AUCians had donated blood although they’d been there for three days.

So I went, lied down and started reading “I loved you for your voice,” trying not to look at the needle as it went into my arm.

Five minutes later and I was done.

As I got up I gathered the courage to look down. Seeing a bag full of my blood made me feel queasy, but also made me feel triumphant. Here was something I did that will make a difference in someone’s life, but people don’t do because they are scared, worried or simply ignorant.
I’m here to tell you that the girl who used to cry buckets as a child when she scraped her knee has lived through the experience to tell you all…donate if you can; your blood is one of the most precious gifts you have to give.