Friday, August 26, 2011

Audit to learn... learn to audit!

So, I have this thing... about not taking classes officially because either 1) I can't afford it; or 2) it is not necessary for my degree, so there's no point in paying for it. So, I tend to Audit a class per year or even per semester. This fall, I am taking 3 classes, teaching, taking 2 comprehensive exams, working on a couple of research projects, reviewing some papers for potential publication, running some campus activities, and now I am thinking of auditing a class...

The thing is... I have too many good choices this semester!!! Let me show you what my options are:

Black Social and Political Thought
Introduction to Peace and Security Studies
Race and Racism in America

See the thing is, I want to take 2 of them.... I can't just let it go... But I am way too busy this fall to take on extra (albeit voluntary) course work. I REALLY want to take the Black social and political thought class... but I really want to take the peace and security studies class too... and the Democracy one... and the race one... UGHHHHH!!! How can you narrow it down!!!!! o.O They all sound so interesting....

If you were me, what class would you add on????

I think I'm going to go with the first choice... why? Because I <3 WEB DuBois, and maybe this will expose me to some other authors during his era.... and maybe some more modern (of this time period) theorists..... hmmmmmm.....

I wish I didn't have to choose... In fact... I wish I could take all of them... o.O

This is the dilemma of the college student who loves the classroom and to learn.... I hope the professors let me sit in the class!!! Usually I audit Near Eastern Studies courses or political science, but this time the courses are from anthropology, sociology, peace and conflict studies and africana studies. So, different departments.... Don't know how the profs will react....

Pray for me!!! <3

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I haven't posted in about a month... it feels like forever... odd.

This Ramadan has been interesting, so unique because I don't have a crazy schedule. I just teach in the morning and the rest of the day, I'm essentially free (other than research/paper writing). It is my first Ramadan in a long time, that I've had the opportunity to go to tarawih (the night prayers), because usually I have night classes up until 10pm and I don't get home till 11pm. I haven't gone to Qiyams (which is a long prayer all night long) with such frequency 2-3 times a week. In all honesty, I don't think I've ever even tasted the spiritual sweetness of Ramadan that scholars always talk about. But this Ramadan, I think I'm somewhere close. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation, maybe its the community feel, maybe it's just God. But I feel like I'm getting there.

Recently, I've been looking into other ways of expressing my faith, a more spiritual side, and this started about a month or so before Ramadan. I felt like I was just a machine, mechanically prayer, mechanically practicing.... my hinges needed to be oiled, my body clanging with each movement, it was grating. It was exhausting. I just felt wrong. I think God saw this, maybe my friends saw this, but suddenly I was thrust into a new world of spirituality that I haven't experienced before. An avenue that is much misunderstood (and still is by me), but it is something I learned (aml earning) to find contentment in. It is GENUINE. It is something that I found God in.

Yesterday at the Qiyam Sheik Salim Khalid said "I ride the waves of faith/spirituality", and his statement really resonated with me. I don't think I truly would have internalized such as statement 2 months ago. I would have chalked it up to be flowery, probably mocked it to no extent. But yesterday, I found it to be so unbelievable true.

Before Ramadan started, I visited multiple religious centers of various faith traditions. People hummed/sang with their spiritual leaders. Some swayed. Some chanted with gusto. I took it in. I observed, smiled, and swayed along. But instead in my head, I whispered some dhikr (remembrances of god) "thank god, god is beautiful, god is merciful...." I felt like I was part of a body of worshippers, each of us worshipping God in our own way. Now, during night prayers, something I NEVER could connect with, I feel the thread tying us all together. At the mawlids, I feel that thread. With the gift exchange of prayer beads, I feel the connection. I realized, the tradition I was lost in (not a specific tradition, but my own established self tradition) was so difficult to deal with. I am a very active person and I thought that type of religious lifestyle suited me the best. So, spirituality and gatherings of seeking a spiritual side were pushed off as not being as productive. I don't know what I am trying to say, really. But I guess, I found a direction I want to go through and I'm standing at the door looking out.