By Waleed Kadous
University ... The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship "Education." Our continuing mission: To learn about the world, to improve our Islam and, possibly, get a job.
Seriously, though, congratulations upon getting into university. This is quite an achievement. If you didn't get in, then my commiserations; but do not forget that as Allah says: "It may be that you do not like something but it is good for you; and it may be that you like something but it is bad for you." So trust in Allah and you will never go astray.
An important thing to consider is what is different about university, and what being a Muslim at a university means and involves. For those who haven't been to University, it's a great place, but probably different to what you're used to. It is about as similar to school as a tricycle is to a tractor.
Differences from school
The most obvious difference is size in every way. It's not only physically much larger (a bonus for those who like to walk), but also has many, many more students; a typical school might have one thousand students, a typical university might have twenty thousand.
The second obvious difference is in the teaching style. At school, you are usually spoon-fed knowledge in small groups and they mark the roll in each class. Not at University. Most lecturers don't care if you attend their lectures or not; and they don't say "Copy this from the board into your exercise books." It's more likely that they will put up a slide and you can copy it if you feel it is relevant. As for class sizes, certain lectures in popular courses can be attended by as many as 1500 people. Don't expect a lot of personal attention.
The third obvious difference is in the student body. While school may be an environment that emphasizes making everyone behave in a similar manner (for example by making everyone wear the same uniform), university is almost the opposite, where being different is the norm (as contradictory as it sounds!!). There are no uniforms, and provided you act within the bounds of common sense and common courtesy, people do not really care that much about what you do. Or perhaps they do care, but they're probably not going to harass you for being different; they're more likely to support you.
So what impact do these differences have?
Read the rest of this article at IslamforToday.com.
Waleed Kadous is a university student in Australia.
10/1/2009 4:00:00 AM