I sound so old typing this, but when I was an undergrad I could pull off all-nighters effortlessly. High on the adrenaline of needing to submit work on time, I would push hard, get everything done, print as my sisters woke up for school, and then dab a bit of concealer around my puffy eyes before I left the house the next morning to hide the evidence of a sleepless night.
Last night, I planned on repeating the process to finish off some work.
I lasted maybe a minute after midnight before I was knocked out. When my mum woke me up for sehri (the traditional pre-dawn meal in Ramadan) my guilty conscience dragged me out of bed so fast that as soon as I had some cereal and vitamins in my tummy, I got straight into it.
But despite what I said in the snap that I posted at midday in my zombie-like state, my day was actually super productive.
After a mini life crisis on Monday night – in which I seriously considered overhauling my entire masters project – I had an extremely productive meeting with my supervisor Dr Nicky Falkof, who reassured me that my ideas aren’t terrible and that I can and should totally go full-steam ahead and not let me tell me shit about myself.
Nicky is a total rockstar btw. Like I’m not even just sucking up. She is the coolest and the smartest.
Best dedication from my fab MA supervisor in the signed copy of her book (which I finally got a copy of today) pic.twitter.com/v3JzSk1PjT
— Aaisha Dadi Patel (@aaishadadipatel) June 7, 2016
Doing a masters by research only can be a super hard adjustment – I know that that’s how I’ve found it so far. It’s a lonely journey that requires great discipline and dedication. It also takes a lot out of you. But it’s also something that’s exclusively yours. You’re completely in charge of it, and you get to make it whatever you want it to be – and having something like that, that’s only all yours, is intimidating AF but also kinda exhilarating. (Like having a baby) (not really).
I also handed in my final batch of marking for this semester, essays written by the engineering students that I tutored in critical thinking. By then I was too lazy to trudge down to the mus Alla at Wits so I prayed Dhuhr in an icy, dark staircase in the Chamber of Mines building lamenting the annoyances of patriarchy – just generally – and how much I love my mum for preparing chicken corn soup for iftar.
Life lesson today: acknowledging that you’re full of shit is not good enough. You’ve got to check yourself, be accountable and get yourself in order before you seriously wreck yourself (HOW DEEP AM I!). Also, if anyone is interested in starting a reading group with me – looking at stuff related to gender studies in general – please holla at me.
This is a special series on Ramadaan 2016 by our fave Muslim reporter, Aaisha Dadi Patel. For Day 1’s reflections, read this.