1. Understand Why You Attend College.
Regardless of your program of choice when entering college, you need to know the why. Our time on earth is limited and our ultimate goal is to win Jannah. Every move and action we do has to be focused and fit into our larger goal.
If you choose to go to college, then your education should serve either of these 3:
Become the best of the best in a field (passion) - (attitude: to learn)
Example: Fardh Kifayah (Obligatory on the Muslim Ummah) to have chemical engineers
- Become the best chemical engineer
- Who to go to in the field? YOU.
You also need to understand to achieve anything in life, it requires 90% hard work and 10% talent. Talent simply makes it one notch easier. It’s not everything. It’s all about passion. If one is passionate about something they will work hard for it.
Entrepreneurship - (attitude: to be self-independent)
Muslims need to stop being labourers. If you are investing thousands into education, don’t be a slave for the corporations. Entrepreneurs learn how to create value, how to generate wealth.
With the skills you gain, you can use those to help the Ummah.
What you need to be an entrepreneur is capital, technical know how (labour), and having an entrepreneurial mind
To be financially stable - (attitude: to get a job)
Most students have the end goals of making money and to establish a stable income. This is important because when you do have a stable source of income you one can do Dawa without worry.
For this you need to pick an appropriate job that is sustainable and economically healthy, and choose a career that is most in demand by the economy. If you are there for the money, go where the money is.
- Examples: Artificial Intelligence, which will be in demand for decades.
- Data Engineers today make more than $250,000/year.
2. Get In Touch With Your MSA.
Every college has a Muslim Students Association (a.k.a. MSA). This is where the youth have access to Islam on campus. Being in touch and involved in your MSA must be one of your priorities. To revisit our ultimate goal of winning Jannah, you need to maximize your actions and time on earth.
Your MSA may have either a social media page or even a website through which you can contact them.
3. Take Initiative & Get Involved In The Muslim community.
You can utilize your MSA for two things:
Either being on the receiving end by attending classes and events and taking part in any activities.
- Be on the giving end by organizing events and being an activist on campus.
If you are new to the Muslim community, or haven’t volunteered or taken part in being part of such classes and events, you can start off my being on the receiving end and take in all the benefit that you can. MSA sometimes even invites reputable scholars and Imams to discuss important aspects of life and world affairs as well. Use this oppurtunity to learn more about Islam.
When you contact your MSA ask them about events or ongoing classes that you can take benefit of. They will be more than happy to help you.
The next level would be on the giving end. If you’ve spent sufficient time being on the receiving end or are used to being involved in the community, take the leap and get involved in your MSA. Your MSA will always need help and will use your skills to the best of your ability. Being an activist and giving Dawa can be so much easier as it is right on your campus.
4. Dorm and Accommodation.
For those students who are moving away from home, you usually have two options when it comes to finding accommodation: living in dorm rooms or finding student houses that aren't part of your college.
Regardless of which style you use, make sure to choose roomates who are Muslim and are of the same gender. If you aren't able to find roommates/housemates who are Muslims and of the same gender, then the least you must do is look for a person of the same gender.
If your student house has two entrances with two separate floors, then it is fine if one level has the opposite. Make sure that the level you live on has only students with your gender.
What can you do if you have a non-Muslim roommate?
- Explain the fundamentals of Islam that you need to do: You need to pray five times a day and there can’t be music playing when it is time to do so .
- They cannot let people of the opposite gender come over without giving you prior notice - so that you may wear your hijab, leave or you can even deny them coming over.
- It’s important to have separate areas in the fridge, as they may have Haram food like pork or beer with them. It is best to have your own fridge if possible.
- Alcohol cannot be in the dining area, as it is Haram for you to eat/drink on the same table as the table where alcohol is served.
- Make sure to let them know that you also cannot buy, serve, or help with anything related to alcohol, as it is strictly against your religion
- Make sure to keep the drinking and eating cutlery separate (in terms of usage and storage area) as there are chances of cross contamination.
It is always best to stay home, as your parents may need, and they are your responsibility to take care of. However, if you do leave home, then make sure to use the advice given above.
You can use this chance to to share information about Islam.
5. Your presence is valuable.
As Muslims, we are constantly representing Islam. Our actions, our speech, and our demeanor will be associated with Islam.
If you choose to have cooperative education (co-op) in college then understand the impact you will have at your workplace as well as in extracurricular activities at college. This also applies if you are volunteering in different places.
You need to be up front in breaking stereotypes that your colleagues may have about Muslims, and this is simply done by your behaviour and actions.
Our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that Muslims are beings of excellence. Whether it be at the workplace, at college, while studying or even in our leisure, we excel in what we do. We must have quality, commitment and perseverance in what we do.