(I highly recommend you playing this song while reading, it expresses my feelings quite accurately)
Assalamualaikum, May Peace be Upon You.
How have you all been? While other countries are experiencing seasonal change, Brunei has been having unpredictable storms and heat waves. And with the exam fever still in effect, I hope everyone is in the pink of health (and speedy recovery to those who are feeling a bit blue).
November has come to an end and with it, my third semester as a Biological Science undergraduate. As I mentioned in a recent instagram post, please allow me to pause on this upward ride of the roller coaster and recap what happened during these last four months that yanked me away from any opportunity to write:
Being a student ambassador and member of the International Affairs at my university, I had the opportunity of working for the Global Discovery Programme: Discover Brunei, last August. The participants included students from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China and a couple from UK. The programme aimed to let participants learn about Brunei’s culture, language, history, business industry and greenery with mediums that ranged from lectures, activities, games to field trips.
While it was frustrating at times, I learned significantly, not only about other countries but also my own. Curiously, I discovered more about my religion and the state of my own faith with the help of the inquisitive minds of the participants. These are moments that I feel firm and proud of the peacefulness and beauty of my belief. All this made me realise that there isn’t a need to go abroad to improve yourself and learn about other cultures (but that doesn’t stop me from trying though!).
Unlikely friendships were made, both internationally and locally, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Speaking of which, special mention to the Japanese Alliance (yes, you too Mar if you’re reading); I miss you all so much and I wish we could meet again some day.
To the Bruneians, lets get together at Mar’s place and trash it. I was initially so shy but finding out that you girls had a thing for dearie little me was beyond my wildest imagination and I wish I had the courage to approach you earlier. Jin-sensei (its a joke guys he’s literally the youngest out of all of us), I’m still holding on to your offer in bringing me to Japan’s beautiful beaches. 😉 I’m expecting to see the fruits of your training too! All in all, as tiring and as time-and-money-consuming as it gets, it is definitely one of the highlights of my time here in UBD. And I’m so excited for more! 😍
However, it’s not all candy sunsets and karaoke drive sessions. One of the setbacks for the programme, to me, was the amount of backlog work I accumulated.
Although, that could just be my utter inability to manage my time properly. And just the next day after they all left for their homes on September, I found myself trapped in the sudden avalanche of practicals and lab reports every week, not to mention the ominous tests that popped up every once in a while.
PRO TIP: take your lecturers words
to the bONE when they say that the third semester is the toughest of all and never, EVER underestimate that statement and think of it as a ruse for you to “work well”. Exhibit A: the tattered, battle-worn body and mind of yours truly. It has been two years since I left pre-uni and it baffles me how I always find myself forget that crucial note.
After a few “hell weeks” that stretched for two months, it took a lot to not throw in the towel. But Alhamdulillah, my weekly club activities (Muslim Youth Club and Quran Club) helped me refocus and kept me sane enough to finish another one of the gnarly reports. Grander activities such as the MYC Tea Party and QC Picnic with spontaneous photoshoots were also delightful ways to de-stress, and I benefited greatly from them. To the masterminds of the events, Jazzakumullahu Khairan Khateera (May Allah reward you all with the best in abundance).
In addition, occasional catch up sessions with various people such as the authors of The Rustic Trove, Bru Bookworm, Formula Nu, A Book Unwritten (and my lovely Zahrah!) and A Written Blank Page sprinkled my grim semester with enlightenment and little joys. You might not think our get-together were of that much importance, but it was to me. Thank you for putting aside some time from your schedule to spend it with me. I’m looking forward to meet again 💕
…Most importantly, I’m still alive. Alhamdulillah. Even though I don’t look like it, I did tried the best that I could during that moment. No use agonising and nitpicking my mistakes since its behind me now; only way to go is forward and tawakkaltu’alAllah (putting my trust and relying solely on Him).
Allow me as I take this chance to thank those who have helped me through my struggles in any way: be it by tutoring me, listening to my gripes or even cheering me up while I was so intent of wallowing in my (un/biological) hardships. Big shout out to my course mates and our library gang, whom I spent most of my time with at the library during the course of October and November. I used to fantasise about going to the library everyday (what do you expect from this geeky bookworm?) but I had definitely miscalculated on how tiring it gets. All of you were oh so helpful and made the experience so much less stressful than it would have been. I sincerely thank you for accepting me to your circle of bright intellectuals and I’m looking forward to the rest of the course with you. Lets refresh our intentions and learn for His sake and may He accept our jihad (struggle) in chasing knowledge as our ‘ibadah (worship). Ameen Ya Rabb ☺️
Before I proceed, let me digress to bookish matters. Even though my #teereads tag has been on a standstill, my goodreads account is updated, if not slightly incorrect at some details. I’m actually writing up mini reviews to round up my Aug-Nov Read list so you can expect that post soon. A brief outline to what my December would be is also an idea that I’m planning to indulge in, In Syaa Allah (By His Will). Allah is The Best Planner, after all.
To finish up, here is a collection of my favourite photos that signified each of the highlights of this half of the year so far:
Thank you for reading, and see you again soon. Assalamualaikum and May Peace Be Upon You. x