Monday, 15 May 2006

10 days to go and counting…

Life is funny sometimes. You get up, go to university, do your work, go to sleep and repeat. Every day I keep telling myself that I just need to get this week done, and then I can finally “start” living. And then suddenly it hits you that this is your life, and that every day that passes is one you’re never going to get back; so what are you doing with it?

I’m in a philosophical mood today, so forgive me if I meander off into unrelated tangents. I’ve just been listening to Amr Khaled (one of the most celebrated Muslim Preachers–I’m sure he needs no introduction) and his words always have a profound effect on me. They make me sit up and think—what am I doing with my life? Am I really doing all that I could and am I really using all my God-given skills and capabilities to the best of my ability? Thoughts to ponder while I’m stuck in traffic for over an hour because the president has (as usual) blocked all the streets because he’s going somewhere…

Last week was the showing of our play, and it would be an underestimation to say that it was a resounding success. The theatre was so crowded people were sitting on the floor and in the aisles; I was doing my monologue (in a purple beret!) with people sitting not half a meter away from me. It was so crowded that people even requested an extra showing at the end of the semester. It was a wonderful experience, I made great friends, and I’m proud of what I did—even though we received a lot of criticism for talking about sensitive issues. But my defense was, and still is—that these things happen to real women in Egypt. 97% of them are circumcised, the majority get harassed and sexually assaulted, and we can’t assume that by covering our eyes to them they’ll magically disappear. So yeah, I think it was a meaningful experience, and it will make people think about what really happens even in our “high class” society, and tell them about things they thought didn’t exist amongst them. Or as the narrator put it: “Ignorance is not entirely dependent on education…isolation is independent of location, and…neither is dependent on social classification.”

I went for an interview in the American Embassy for a Marketing and Website assistant internship, and they called me up today to say I got the job. The only thing is, I went for an exam at Procter and Gamble (P&G) a while ago along with 67 other students (I only know the exact figure because I had a reporter write a story about it for Dimensions hehe); and I was one of the 22 who passed. Those who pass are going to be interviewed for summer internships, and I have to admit that that would be my dream internship. Only thing is I have to respond to the American Embassy offer by Thursday, because that job starts 1/6 and ends 31/8, while the P&G one starts 1/7 and ends 31/8. So I can pass up the American Embassy offer and then not get the P&G one, which means I’ll have wasted the opportunity for a job this summer, since that’s the only interview I’ve gotten so far; or I can accept the American Embassy job and then kick myself if I get the P&G job. Decisions decisions…

I’m going to think it over, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to pass up on the American Embassy job. Because even if I don’t get the P & G job, I still have two other great options for the summer; they’re both opportunities to study Islam abroad in more depth during the summer—one is in England with Amr Khaled, and one is in Yemen with Habib Ali El Jifri. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if I get accepted in either one. Hopefully (in sha2 Allah), I’ll get accepted in at least one of them!

So that’s the update on the job/ summer plans scenario. And as for holiday plans, I’m planning on holding a huge dish party as soon as the exams are over for all my girlfriends to celebrate the end (yes!!) of the academic year. I’m also traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra (the lesser pilgrimage) and to Dubai for some shopping hehe. Ooh that reminds me, I need to buy some dresses when I’m there because two of my friends are getting married (!!) this June. I’m so happy for them—only not so much when we’re trying to work on a project which is due this Saturday (*swallows audibly*) and one of them is sitting writing her invitation list. I mean, advertising and promotion management is more important than a wedding right?

So what about university? Well, the semester is winding down (only 10 days to go Ahhhhhh!), which means sleepless nights spent working on projects we’ve been assigned all semester but only just started working on a while ago, are right around the corner. I have a project that requires interviews with a company that’s two HOURS away from my house, one that requires us to create a big ice-cream out of foam (as it’s worth 20% of our grade and we need to do something that grabs the professor’s attention), and one which hasn’t even been assigned to us yet! Plus the two final papers from my Arabic studies course. The (not so) funny thing is that I still haven’t chosen a topic for my Veiling class and on Saturday I have to do my presentation on it. In Fayoum no less, which is a city about an hour outside of Cairo—our professor decided she wanted to give us a “trip” during the busiest week of the semester. Go figure.

Hmmm, what else? Oh, we had an employment fair on Friday, which was the biggest one ever held on campus—over 107 companies were present. I’ve never seen the Main Campus so crowded; there was literally hundreds and hundred of people. Each company had gone all out—each booth was really decked out and very well organized. Kudos to the CAPS office.
I had to go to cover the event for Dimensions even though I wasn’t a graduating senior, and I came out of it with quite a few freebies hehe. But seriously, it’s a great opportunity to find jobs, make contacts, see what kind of jobs are out there, and find out what fields you’d like to go into and are best suited for.

And speaking of Dimensions, can I just mention (again) how much I love ♥ my ex editor in chief Mona? We seriously underappreciated how much work she had to go through. And now as a columnist, reporter, English editor, production editor, and acting editor-in-chief, I sympathize with her a whole lot more. I’ve had to learn how to use Quark and Adobe Photoshop in literally two days, and quickly get to know everyone who’s anyone who has the slightest thing to do with Dimensions. I’m still glad I got this experience though; at least now I know how much work I have ahead of me next semester (that’s if I get the job of course!). I should be getting starting on my plan, especially since of course I have so much free time :)

Any other important news? Oh, how could I forget to mention that Seif Abou Zeid won the elections and will now be the new Student Union president? He won with an unprecedented margin of 448 votes, which I have to say, is amazing—last year’s candidate (whom I’m still waiting for his column in Dimensions by the way!!) only won by less than 40 votes. And I have to admit that campaigning was a lot more civilized this semester, with campaigners doing a better job of explaining the candidate’s plans than in saying “Vote for #2/#3, he’s my friend/ friend of my friend!”

Ok, I can’t believe I’ve just spent almost two hours writing this, and I still have soooooo much to do. It’s gotten to the point where I barely have enough time to brush my hair—and can you believe I still haven’t gotten around to buying black ink for my printer?! I’ve been printing everything in color; even the CV I took to my interview was printed in dark blue—I’m glad they didn’t notice I haven’t gone to the movies in weeks (and I’d really wanted to see Memoirs of a Geisha before it was removed from the cinemas), and I miss eating Shanghai Wings at Chilis with my friends

But I hope it all pays off. I guess I can say that my life is pretty full, and I hope I continue to do my best in everything I do. I’ve even applied for the Student Awards Ceremony (SAC) next week. It’s a competition for those who have a GPA of over 3.0 and are in a lot of activities. The winning seniors get cash prizes which are deducted from their tuition. So who knows?
Anyway, it’s almost 10pm now, and I have to be at uni at 8am, so I better go start working while I still have some time. Make du’a (supplication) for me that I get through these last 10 days unscathed, and wish me lots of luck!

All the best, and Salam Alaykum (Peace be Upon You)

PS: This may be seen as really random, but the emergency law was just renewed in Egypt for another two years. My feelings about it? No comment

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