Thursday, 28 August 2014

I've moved!

You can now find me here:

(It'll be the same bloglovin account, I'll just change the URL registered!)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

on lifestyle blogging

I thought I'd make a post on blogging itself, and this very idea of what blogging essentially is has changed for me over the past year.

Around this time last year, I started this blog. Writing things on the internet is something that I've always wanted to do, but I didn't really have the time to formally start a blog. So when I started, my aim was to write about things that I found interesting, and not a beauty or fashion blog - trust me, I'm totally totally useless with those kind of things. However, 'lifestyle blogging' didn't really occur to me at the time.

I enjoy writing about things such as feminism, politics, history etc and I thought that I could do that by starting a blog, but I quickly realised that everything that I was writing about was student related somehow - either directly or indirectly. I didn't think that my blog would fall under the category 'student lifestyle', but it has.

Over the course of this year, I've started to realise that this sort of writing really isn't my thing.One of the things that really stood out for was the fact that when I started blogging, things started to go pretty badly, therefore, a great majority of my posts encircle the ideas of "I hate school" or "I'm not coping", and trust me - this is exactly how I felt throughout Year 13. This has obviously affected what I was writing as everytime I gave an update it was always negative news. What surprised me more is that people are actually reading this, and I think to myself "Does this really deserve any reading?"This place felt like a diary and probably the only place where I could write about my feeling honestly without my friends telling me to stop being melodramatic.

I think that I've now realised that I don't really fit in with the 'lifestyle blogging' world.  One of the things that I want to undertake in my gap year is activism, predominately through writing. I've never really been involved in activism before - other than ranting on twitter, but I'd like to start a new blog - entirely personal - and write about things that I find interesting and more grown up than moaning about student life. If I was to write about feminism for instance, it wouldn't fit into this blog. It would be entirely out of place. I want to exit the negativity that I've been focusing on and look forward in life and think about all the great things that I've accomplished along the way.

I enjoy reading beauty/fashion/lifestyle blogs, but these things really aren't for me. I want to start fresh. I won't delete this blog as I'll probably return and read back the year I suffered anxiety, but I'd like to think that I've come far in coming to terms with it. I'm now the happiest I've been in a very long while. So, it's time to say goodbye to 'A Student's Confessions', and hello to the future!

This however, isn't the last you'll see of me. I'll update you readers when I start my new blog (coming very soon!). But last but definitely not least, I'd like to say a huge massive thank you to everyone who's read this over the past year and to those who've followed me on this short journey. You are all amazing people! Thank you so much for sticking by and commenting etc, sharing experiences is always a lovely thing. Your blogs are great too and are always a pleasure to read!

For now, a heartfelt goodbye!

*hugs and kisses*

Rahma xo

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Seven days to go...

We've once again re-entered the dreaded month that is August. A month to find out whether all your hard work, constant crying and stressing your brains out has paid off. You've guessed it, it's the month containing a day known as 'Results Day'.

I'm not going to lie, I'm extremely petrified. I'm terrified. I feel like my anxiety is returning. I feel so...argh.

In seven days time, I'll find out how I did. Exams didn't go down well, or at least I don't think and at this point I'm pretty sure that I've missed the entry requirements. I've already had dreams that I've failed and the thought of this is just so sickening. My last exam especially was so so awful and it's haunted me ever since.

As you can tell I'm expecting the absolute worst, but I hope that everyone receiving A-Level results next week have a cause to celebrate for. BEST OF LUCK EVERYONE! We're all in this together! :)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

My Hijab Story

*I originally wrote this post for Ameena's blog, but I also decided to post it here. As you may know, I'm a Muslim that wears a hijab. Below I share my experience of what it's like to wear it.*

What is hijab? Why do Muslim women wear hijab? Does wearing the hijab make you a better Muslim than someone who doesn’t? These are just some commonly asked questions which some hijabi women are faced with and I hope to address these questions by interlinking them with my own experience of wearing the hijab.

The hijab is something that has always interested me. I was incredibly curious as a child, and as a little girl there were many things that I was looking forward to when I became older. Some were fairly typical things like going shopping on your own etc, but wearing the hijab was actually one of them. I was always fascinated by it, so at the age of ten, I started wearing the hijab full-time. I say full-time because at six years old, I started wearing it, but it really was on-and-off. Other girls in my class were staring to wear it so I decided that I should wear it too. I started attending weekend classes at the mosque and covering the hair was a requirement. This was entirely my own choice. My parents neither told me, nor advised me to wear the hijab at this point. I wasn’t really committed as I felt that I was a bit too young to undertake such a task. But when I started wearing the hijab properly (and my mum continually advising me to keep to it), I started secondary school and that’s when the doubts started to show up.

Being curious gives an obvious indication that you’re constantly searching for answers. I didn’t really know why Muslim women had to cover their heads.  I just started wearing it blindly because really wanted to know how it felt like, not necessarily for what it was about or represented. I remember asking my mum why the hijab was necessary, and her response was “because you’re Muslim, you need too.” This answer, for me, was inadequate. It didn’t explain anything to me. I knew that Muslim women had to wear it, but what is the purpose? Why has God made it obligatory upon women to cover their heads? This crucial question was finally answered four years later.

I won’t delve into great detail why the hijab is worn otherwise this post will be really long, but the central issue which hijab revolves around is modesty. The word ‘hijab’ originates from the Arabic word ‘hajaba’ meaning to cover; hence this explains the covering of the head to the chest. God revealed this commandment in Surah An-Nur, verse 30, adding that other parts should also be covered, therefore suggesting that there is much more to hijab than just covering your head. This is where modesty comes to play. It allows the sexuality of women to be concealed, away from the public eye and femininity to be brought out. This point really resonated with me. By covering myself with what seems a simple cloth, it carries huge symbolic meaning. I feel liberated, secure, and ultimately, proud. I feel happy that I am representing my religion and I’m pleased to be identified as a Muslim woman, and if anything, it’s the complete contrary to the modern, ‘liberalist’ outlook of what hijab is. Criticism permeates, and almost everywhere, you’ll hear the same old recycled arguments of what hijab is: the fact that it’s oppressive, misogynistic, and the fact women being forced to wear it without a choice. Well actually, my experience completely defies this myth, as hijab to me is liberty, equality but most importantly, humility. It’s my best friend. I don’t wear it to impress men; I wear it to please my Lord.  It completely conveys my identity as a woman. I don’t think that I would be the same person if I wasn’t wearing it. The fact that a simple garment can make you feel this way only heightens the symbolic weight of the hijab. It doesn’t interfere with anything. I prefer to be judged by what’s inside my head and not what’s on it.

Of course, over the years, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Living in the Western world has its hardships for any Muslim, and wearing the hijab is indifferent. As I mentioned beforehand, I had some doubts wearing the hijab at some point, but starting to understand its meaning really strengthened my conviction to wear it. I also think that living in such a diverse city like London made the matter a lot less daunting, some people are friendly and completely open-minded which really does make you feel at home. It wasn’t a huge deal as it is for some, or as emotional. However, you still get the dirty looks. Thinking about it, that’s probably a London thing anyway.

Perhaps what I’d like to address the most is the issue of passing judgement. As you may know, not all Muslim women wear the hijab and this is entirely their own choice, just as someone who decides to wear it. Let me tell you something, never ever judge or compare the two. Never do it. Just because a sister wears the hijab and the other doesn’t automatically make you a better Muslim and it is this very thought that has angered me so much. I’ve come across people saying “I can’t take someone who speaks about Islam who doesn’t wear the hijab seriously” or “you’re not a real Muslim if you don’t wear the hijab”. Such remarks are both pretentious and absolutely vile. For all you know that person may have a higher Iman than you and that she practices her faith better than you. This isn’t providing an excuse by any stretch of the word, all I am saying is that you shouldn’t judge any Muslim woman on the premise of whether they wear the hijab or not or whether they’re dressed modestly. That’s none of your business. There is a fine line between giving someone advice and judging them, so if you care for the person so much, advise them in private rather than exposing their faults in public. That isn’t doing you any favours. Leave the judging between the woman and her Lord. Remember, when someone is in hardship, you sincerely pray for them – not bash them. By bashing, you are making them move further away, which isn’t your intention.

My advice to anyone thinking about wearing the hijab or has starting wearing it is to refine your intentions. Know why you are deciding to wear this. By refining your intentions, you’ll know whether you’ll be wearing hijab for the right reasons. Secondly comes perseverance. This isn’t easy and there is no doubt that you will encounter some difficulty along the way, but take baby steps. This way, coming to terms with change will be a lot easier. Thirdly, pray to God that He makes it easy for you. Ultimately, you are wearing hijab to please God and no one else.

I pray to God that everyone’s efforts of wearing the hijab are rewarded and to those considering, to make it easy for them. Ameen.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Awful commitment to blogging

Hi. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything adequate on this blog, or anywhere really, but just to let you know…I’m still alive.

There really isn’t an excuse for being away for so long, but I guess that I should give some sort of an update. I’ve been busy doing nothing for the past month. Literally. After saying goodbye to all my friends and school, I decided to focus on my entry for the Julia Wood prize which is a history essay competition held by Oxford University. The topic I chose was the French Revolution since I had studied it this year, but then I decided to withdraw a week before the essay was due. I thought to myself that if I was going to take part in a competition, it should ultimately be fun. This wasn’t working with me, as I became too stressed and the thought of Oxford academics reading my work really really freaked me out. It would have been a great opportunity but I’d rather have fun doing something I enjoy, than to do it and stress out. Plus, it isn't the end of the world. There are many other things I can do that will showcase my passion for History - not a mere competition.

Another thing that’s kept me occupied this month was Ramadan, which is a month of fasting observed by Muslims. I’ll write a post about my experiences during Ramadan soon, so stick out for that!

I was planning on writing a blog post recently about a topic no doubt has attracted a lot of attention over the past month, and that is Palestine. Like many other people, this ongoing problem has both infuriated and disgusted me, not least to mention the continuous biased reporting of innumerable media outlets. I soon realised that what I had written was in essence, a massive rant and although I won’t change my position on the issue, I feel the need to read upon the history of the current problem. I feel the need to read the origins of the problem before I made any judgments. However, I firmly believe that Israel is in fact occupied Palestinian territory and should be held accountable for it’s inexcusable war crimes. I think that this statement alone directly conveys my viewpoint; hence I’ll stop talking about this here before I explode into rant #365 (see my twitter feed).

I have a few posts coming up soon which should hopefully keep me going over the next few weeks, so I hope to bring this long lost blog at the forefront of your bloglovin feeds!


Friday, 27 June 2014

A Final Farewell

Finishing my A-Levels and the end of my time at school has all been a bit of a blur over the past few days. Exams ended exactly a week ago, and waking up every morning knowing that I don’t have any revision to do is the best feeling ever, but also the weirdest. To stop working after 8/9 months of continuous studying took a bit of time of getting used to, so this week I ended up touring Central London with friends and staying glued to the television. But perhaps what I’d like to share is my experience at both school and sixth form. Since year 9 onwards, I attended an all-girls independent faith school, before that a normal state comprehensive school. I don’t think that I’ve been open about my schooling to anyone, other than the fact that this year was completely horrible.

Disclaimer: Before I proceed, I would like to stress that what I’m writing about is my experience of attending a private school. I know that this is a sensitive area for many, and what I would like to say that I’m not speaking on behalf of private schools or my own school, just my experience with no intention of boasting or anything of the like.

Although the school I attended was private, it wasn’t of the typical sort with a vast prestigious history, high rankings and excellent university entrances. It was certainly no Eton or Westminister. In all honesty, there were some people from privileged backgrounds, very few which would be classified as snobby and very few that you’d consider posh. It wasn’t particularly academic either, or at least it wasn’t known for it. Just scrapping by Ofsted standards my school was average, just.

Years at school were definitely crucial in my development as a person. It bared witness to my period as a shy introvert hesitant to speak to anyone or participate in any discussions in class, but then I started to grow more and more confident. The atmosphere of a state and private school are completely different, particularly for me transitioning from a mixed atmosphere to an all-girls one. It was definitely weird, and took a lot of time of getting used to, but after finally combating this stage, I felt more comfortable. I started to speak more openly and confidently, which eventually landed me the role as Head Girl in year 11. Then came the stresses of GCSE’s in which after results were published, I managed to come on top of the year which was entirely unexpected.   

What made school more enjoyable was the amazing people I met which I have the privilege of calling friends. From watching The Big Bang Theory on some random movie website to playing musical chairs (yes, musical chairs). I shouldn't forget our rendition of Gangnam Style, it just made it ever so more painfully obvious that dancing really isn't our forte. We also attempted to do the Harlem Shake- once again ending in catastrophic disaster. The end product was viewing myself replicating a '60s retro disco move. Not nice at all but absolutely hilarious. We also ended up on YouTube for a brief moment for some competition we decided to enter, again ‘dancing’ or rather jumping on the same spot again and again which what it turned out to be.

After all the positives do come some downsides which I have spoken about far too much on this blog. At the beginning of the year, I really wanted my final year to go well, but that didn’t happen clearly. And it also just so happens that I started blogging when things were starting to go pretty badly. However, I'm actually alive? I’ve finished my A-Levels which has been one heck of a ride.

It’s definitely been a mixed five years. I’ve become much more open-minded and wide eyed. My passions for issues like politics, feminism, history and religion grew considerably. Full of highs and lows, my years at school have definitely shaped me as a person, and the most amazing leavers dinner last night really concluded these five years for me. It’s fairly obvious that I’ll miss everyone a bit too much (even those annoying teachers which expect you to remember things from year 7?!). I'm even going to miss ridiculous things like waking up at 5 am and running onto a crammed train during rush hour. It’s just so strange to think that everyone will go their separate ways living in different parts of the country for the next few years. For now, and probably for the years to come, we’ll all be known as Class of 2014!


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Finally Done

After two years of blood, sweat and a lot of tears, I have finally finished my A-Levels! I never ever have to take an A-Level exam ever again in my life…aaaaahhhhh! *jumps frantically* All of course, at the expense of not watching a single match of the French Open and missing out on a week of the World Cup. 

I only had 6 exams this year spread out in the space of over a month, so I had some time to revise between them, but events of the past few weeks have clearly indicated to me that I’m not great at handling stress. Particularly knowing that these exams pretty much determine where you will be heading for university, pressure and expectation does become overwhelming. To the point where you just end up crying, waking up feeling as if you are about to throw up and thinking that your life has ended. Exams have been a mixed bag, but I’d rather not speak about them. Knowing that my hopes and dreams are in the hands of examiners right now is a very daunting thought, and I’m certainly not looking forward to 14th August, but until then, it’s all about celebrating!

Perhaps the most amazing thought to come out of finishing exams is that I’ve finished school forever. I mean, that’s so so crazy! I just started sixth form what seems like yesterday, but now I’m done. It really hit me when I was returning my sixth form ID yesterday, and the date I started happened to be 5/9/12, and honestly, these two years have gone by so so quickly!

This year especially has been if not the worst, the toughest year yet. A lot of things have happened from the start like anxiety, depression, academic difficulties etc which I don’t want to expand on too much because I’d like to do separate posts on them, but I survived. I like to think that I’ve come out of this experience stronger and much more aware of things. I certainly don’t want anyone, anyone to experience what I went through this year because it certainly wasn’t pleasant but hey, it’s finished. It was just a bump in the road. Great thing is I can apply to university with extenuating circumstances.

Anyway apart from that, I took part in this year is Sanam's A* Grade Challenge. It's been amazing being a part of it. I think that it's wonderful to be able to share advice with students who have the same mindset as you. It makes the learning experience much more easier. 

I definitely enjoyed the subjects I took! I studied History, English Literature, Religious Studies and Biology, and they’ve been difficult but I’m so glad that I had chosen them. They’re all amazing and I really do recommend taking them. Not only did I learn awesome stuff, my writing skills have improved so so much. Before I sat my final exams, I remember reading back at the essays I had written right at the beginning of A-Levels, and seeing how much I’ve improved makes everything worthwhile. I feel like I’ve learnt so much in such a short period of time, and I cannot wait to learn my one true love at university (hey history!), I’m so so excited! But until then, its relaxing and celebrating the end of what has been an eventful two years!

Congrats to everyone who’s finished their exams and school! Celebrate your hard earned freeeeedom!