coffee date #24 with hafsah shaik
blogger, psychology major, fashion queen, fellow introvert, president of TCNJ’s MannMukti, YouTuber, TCNJ’s Vice President of DE&I
me: hot chocolate | hafsah: hot chocolate
location: dunkin donuts, new jersey
I first “saw” Hafsah on her YouTube channel. I was browsing YouTube to see what the TCNJ life would be like and lo and behold, I land on Hafsah’s “Welcome Week” video – it was adorable! I then finally e-meet her on ZOOM during a club meeting and she was smiling, nodding, and acknowledging the things I was saying the whole time.
We then started working together a lot more when we developed the MannMukti chapter at our college. That’s when I discovered her amazing Instagram, where she posts whatever and whenever she likes to. Thus, I often texted her and asked her how she’s able to do all of this without worrying about other people’s opinions. She would then proceed to tell me that once you start showing a little part of your true self online, eventually you’ll be able to fully open up and not really care if other people like your true self or not.
Hafsah is so heavily involved on our campus, holding numerous officer positions and part of several clubs. I used to wonder how she balances all of her responsibilities with her academics. At the same time, though, I wondered why she even is interested in being so present on campus.
“It just feels good. I like the idea that this place will be better after I leave.” – Hafsah Shaik, 2021
Everyone says that they “want to leave a legacy” and “make the world a better place,” but not many of us act on ideas and missions that can help propel us into leaving that legacy or bettering the world. Hafsah, however, is one of those few souls who is taking on that responsibility to create change. During the beginning of the date, I asked Hafsah how her day went and she explained how it was a good day because she made a lot of progress at her Student Government meeting. She described how, more than for faculty, it’s the students that she wants to be a pillar for and help build a more inclusive environment in our university. A whole queen!
- Having alone time for introverts is pivotal.
Hafsah and I both realized that we are introverts who absolutely love our alone time. During 2020, finding this alone time was a piece of cake because we weren’t even allowed to go anywhere. I was comfortable and a lot more mentally at peace. However, now that things have opened back up – including colleges – we’re thrown back into this social mosh pit, where we are inevitably forced to have social interactions all the time. Going to class requires interaction. Living with roommates requires interaction. Partying with friends requires interaction. Everything.
This is why life can get real overwhelming real fast for introverts who are now brought back to the “real-world.” Essentially what Hafsah and I decided was that people like us just need to ensure that we spend and include that alone time into our routines every day – even while at college.
- The contradicting idea of college frat parties.
Frat parties are (sometimes) insanely fun. It’s where you can get absolutely wasted (if you want), dance your ass off, meet a ton of new (random) people, and just vibe with your friends.
But then there’s the underlying side of frat parties that isn’t explicitly said: mixers (when frats and sororities mix) are essentially a way for the frats to “get girls” and a way for the sororities to “get guys.” Random guys are often not provided entry into these parties. BUT random girls are. Do we notice how there’s this rather archaic exchange that is taking place at these parties?
FOMO is such a crappy feeling to have because it makes you feel like you prioritizing yourself and your goals is stupid when you really could have been out with your gal pals and living it up in some boujee place. I used to have (and sometimes still do) major FOMO.
Lily Singh talks about FOMO in her book How to Be a Bawse. She says something along the lines of realizing that that party, dinner, 4am hangouts, etc. are not ALWAYS worth it when you have other goals and ambitions in mind. This obviously does not mean that you have to say no to every social activity and just hibernate in your room all day. It just means WHEN you do prioritize yourself, your work, and your goals over a social activity, don’t feel guilty.
- Islam is a knowledge-seeking religion.
Hafsah so beautifully gave me glimpses into the Islamic religion. My mind was simply blown.
One of the biggest things that I never realized about Islam was that it is a very spiritual religion. In fact, when Muslims pray 5 times a day, they are essentially meditating for 5 minutes 5 times a day. How epic is that?! Imagine if everyone were to do this: we’d all be so much more self-aware and not so caught up on the superficial BS that society continues to promote.
“Religion gave me so much healing.” – Hafsah Shaik, 2021
Islam is also a very kind religion. Hafsah explained that if someone has the intention of doing something good, they receive good deeds. If someone has the intention of doing something bad, they do not get bad deeds. Even if one does do something bad but they repent it soon after, they are still forgiven. If one does not repent their negative actions soon after, then the bad deed is noted. But the important part is that there is no limit to forgiveness. She talked about how schools and society, in general, really only emphasize the punishments and consequences for doing something wrong. But Islam is preaching that having the self-awareness to realize that what we did was wrong and trying to fix it also shapes us into becoming better people. Real growth happens when we take the time to learn from those mistakes.
- Take it easy – it’s really not that deep.
“Everything matters in that moment, but nothing matters after that moment.” – Hafsah Shaik, 2021
We often only see things with a super microscopic perspective, where we focus on the tiniest things and forget about the larger vision/purpose.
I saw Diva Dhawan post this recently, where she talks about letting our “feelings pass through us.” And I think what Hafsah is saying is something similar. I’ve learned that if we ignore the feeling in that moment, we either begin to feel 1) overwhelmed, 2) depressed, 3) numb, or 4) all of the above. If we understand that this is what we’re feeling right in this moment, and just let it sit with us and pass through us, then we can realize that this feeling or stage we’re in is not permanent. It’s temporary and it shall pass.