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MIT student blogger Afeefah K. '21

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Afeefah K. '21

some reminders

The semester is over and I’m back at home, spread out on my much too familiar living room sofa. At this point, I should be familiar with how quickly 13 weeks go by. And just how little time there seems to be to process thing as they happen. But all of a sudden I’m at home again, with no impending deadlines and no where to be in particular. With nothing but all the time in the world for me to sit, staring at the ceiling, letting my thoughts carry me away.

The morning before I left campus, a group of friends and I made our way down to the Revere Beach (a short 15-20 minute drive from campus). In the midst of observing Ramadan and searching for a good farewell moment, we took along our pre-dawn meals with us. We spent the moments before dawn eating and hydrating to the compelling roar of the ocean. The wind had a refreshing coolness to it, and as we sat together watching the sky burst with color second by second, I found myself in awe. That the sky burst with this kind of color most days. And the wind carried a coolness with it often. But in the past few weeks, I had been so overwhelmed with final projects and exams that the only color I saw was the painted walls of Stud 5. And the only breeze I felt came from the AC in Barker library.

I woke up the next day to something equally grounding, but a million times more painful. A dear friend of mine had been hit by a drunk driver. She didn’t survive. In Islam, we have a saying. One that has continuously been said since. “Inna lilalhi wa inna ilayhi rajioon.” We belong to God and to God we shall return. I have all of the time in the world now. To process and to think. But sometimes having time isn’t enough.

Rather I’ve found myself making a mental list of reminders. Of things I believe strongly in and hold near and dear to my heart, but often will forget about when things get crazy:

  • Routinely call family (all of them! second cousins! aunts and uncles! grandparents!)
  • Schedule more dinners with friends, don’t just expect to run into people in the dining hall
  • When hanging out with people, give them your undivided attention
  • Let go of grudges. Don’t let bad-feelings build up.
  • Begin your day with a shower (and some food)
  • Learn from those around you
  • Put yourself in other people’s shoes. People generally don’t walk around with bad intentions.
  • Don’t intentionally talk ill of someone
  • Tell people what they mean to you whenever you can
  • Check up on people you haven’t heard from in a while
  • Don’t hold off what you can do today for tomorrow
  • Go out more, embrace the beauty of the world around you
  • Remind yourself of the fragility of life
  • Remember others fondly