If not for anything, joining PGSS and IEPSA to welcome new students, certainly takes me back to the day I first enrolled into IIUM, one and a half years ago.
But that’s really not the case, it’s always a pleasure to join and help make the process of new students enrolment easier. Every experience comes with lessons of its own.
The excitement you see in the face of those, who look at the future with lots of hope, will inspire and motivate you, and keep you moving.
The anxiety you see in some faces teaches you to stay calm and smile. The frustration some display reminds you that human is meant to have changeable emotions. Confusion can happen to anyone, out of excitement and joy, as well as out of confusion itself.
All those are scenarios you will see in reality, when serving people from different backgrounds and various countries. It should remind you, that you have been in similar situations in the past, and can be subjected to them, in future. It will also tell you, that men are created with natural differences, which can never be changed, no matter what. Thus even people who are brought up in the same system may behave differently towards that very system, what more when they come from different systems, or have never being exposed to a system?
A sister had to run between seven banks, hoping to locate the right bank to withdraw money for her enrolment, just to realize, after making payment for her fees, that she has lost all her documents, while running between the banks. She had to return to the individual banks, hoping to find her documents but it was nowhere to be found. Frustration at its peak. A student’s first encounter in a foreign country.
A brother came just 5 minutes before the closure of counters, with none of the documents required for the enrolment, and without making payment, first, at the bank. He was told counters were set to be closed at 1500 Hrs, and his response was, “What! Why can’t you give me a grace of extra minutes?” When he was asked where he had been since the beginning of the enrolment from 0900 Hrs, his answer was, “Mahallah Ruqayyah!”
For the information of readers who are not familiar with IIUM, Mahallah Ruqayyah is a hostel in the very university (IIUM). But certainly he would need more than an hour to get all it takes to return to the enrolment centre.
Prior to both stories above, a lady came to register, and was extremely in doubt; whether or not to enrol. For more than once, I listened to her saying “Will I be able to a take a study leave in the mid of the semester or not?… I’ve done a lot of Istikharah, I hope I can see its answer today.” People spent less than an hour in the enrolment process, but she spent about four hours to make up her mind and to finally register.
The three stories above present cases where volunteers (and even the university sometimes) may not able to help. But how we choose to talk to the relevant students will calm them, trigger their minds to think, help answer their questions and make them feel welcome.
As at now, the Post Graduate Students Society (PGSS) together with the International Affairs Division (IAD) of IIUM are assisting the sister, who has lost her documents, the best way they can. The brother did his registration the next today, but without the convenience of having all the university departments at one location to serve him, like the rest. This means he has to move from office to office, up and down to get things done.
Among other things one learns in this kind of voluntary work, is communication. I mean the skill of communicating with people of various cultural differences at the same time. You learn to hand people with different cultural behaviours and expectations. Conversing in Arabic makes you your presence more relevant. There’re some isolated cases, where prosperous students can neither converse in English nor Arabic. You may ask, how will they make it. Right? They will take language courses, and they will have to master it within two years, before they can move on with their specialization.
In conclusion, smooth sailing; although it can be comforting, it’s never exciting. It can be rather boring. The little unexpected incidents boil up the excitement and bring in the good memories.
Don’t hesitate to volunteer in any uplifting cause, to help others, when you can afford to, The more smiles (happiness) you bring to others, the more happiness you live in your own heart. When you do it, expect neither rewards nor appreciation from none but God. This is where Muslims differ.
Please share with us your stories and experiences and voluntary works, in the comment area below. I also look forward to your feedback, suggestions and questions. Click here to subscribe to my mailing list.
Allah knows best
Allahu Hafiz 🙂