Diving In, Ramadan Mubarak, and Vocabulary

Hasan Ahmed - Editor-In-Chief
Posted on: May 19, 2018

Oh hello, didn’t see you there. How you doing? Thanks for reading these windows into my mind. As you’ll find out these cerebral panes are pretty transparent. I guess it’s my area of the paper to talk about whatever. So what I’m going to do is give a few suggestions as to what to check out this issue, and then talk about random stuff. Since it’s a bit more informal, expect less structure to this, because my thoughts are anything but that at 2AM.

Alright so I like the PCP about Universal Basic Income since it’s a bit of a hot topic. Tony Kappen and I argue for and against them respectively, and both had good points come up. Also there was the 2018 CSCE Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe Competitions held right here at the University of Waterloo, which was covered by Gabrielle Klemt. For this issue’s Prof. Personalities, Aaron Propp interviewed Derek Wright. If you have any suggestions for professors to interview, let me know! I want a broad range of faculty members throughout this spring term. Finally, I want to point out Hira’s article on the Waffle House shooting and aftermath, since it’s such a prevalent topic in western media. As I’m writing this, I’m also aware of the Santa Fe school shooting that just happened. Everything that happens here in Canada seems so lukewarm compared to our southern neighbours. Before we get into the meat of this editorial, I just want to give a huge thanks to Judy Zhong for being my advertising manager and reducing a huge weight off of my shoulders. Special thanks also goes to Samridhi Sharma for helping me out with layout and copy editing. And finally, a special thanks to all the graduates of Iron Warrior who have helped me in the past; Meagan, Caitlin, Cameron, Donovan, and many others, but you four in particular, thank you. All the aforementioned people saved me a lot of energy when preparing this issue, especially when I’ve been fasting. Staff writers are always lower in the spring term, so any little help goes a long way.

So diving in, what do I mean by this? Well you’ve probably already done it, most likely during your first coop or any executive position. Going through university, I learned that I probably won’t have everything planned out when I start it, and it’s extremely relevant as I’m writing this article while barely starting the actual layout of all the articles on the paper. Does it give me anxiety? Yes. Am I worried I’ll mess up a paper issue or won’t get it out on time? Yes. But can I do it? Yes. And I think we all sort of learn that through our toughest experiences, that we’ll always make it out fine. And sometimes we chase that. I’ve had multiple EngSoc directorships and an executive role on the Nanotechnology Engineering Students’ Society that I wasn’t fully able to obtain the information until I had been almost a month in. Same with both of my coop experiences. Being able to do something is one thing, but actually following through with it is another. Validate yourself with some good projects/abilities and show yourself what you’re really capable of in order to build confidence for future endeavours. Dive into those experiences. I know even when I graduate and get a job somewhere, it will take some time for me to gain my bearings, but Waterloo’s taught me that I can do it, and can do it well. That’s why I’m applying to Apple for coop please hire me if you’re reading this.

So far the job hasn’t been hard as much as it has been work heavy. But once I get better at doing layout and stuff, I’ll probably more comfortable in the position rather than coming here after every class day to work on something. Also this keyboard sucks but I’ve now been exposed to the life of dual monitors, and never want to return. I’m the type of person who keeps 40 tabs of Google Chrome open while working, and also leaves their laptop on overnight. I don’t like opening things later, otherwise I would forget. So the dream is now to have a computer battlestation with three monitors and 32GB of RAM. Therefore I can browse Facebook at the highest quality. Just kidding, if I have that kind of setup I’m definitely ramping up Steam to the highest quality as well as streaming and recording games from my consoles. If any of you play Super Smash Bros. Melee hit me up, I have a Gamecube in my room and I’m really bad but down to play.

Alright so it’s 3AM right as I’m typing this sentence, and that means it’s just under an hour until Sehri/Suhoor. Woah what are these words’ meanings? Well, let me go through the whole explanation of the month of Ramadan and the fasting procedure of Muslims. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and the month where we observe fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam. The fasting period is between around 4AM and 9PM. It starts just at dawn and ends at sunset, and in between these hours we cannot eat or drink. Yes, not even water. The meal just before starting the fast is called Suhoor/Sehri, and the meal just after sunset is called Iftaar. All in all, my first Ramadan away from home hasn’t been too bad. My parents were able to pack me some home cooked meals so I had some easy starts to the month of fasting, but I’ve been reliant on myself to cook. At least I’m not spending money during the day on lunch and coffee, which is great for my wallet, and I’m still getting better at cooking independently. I thought doing this production weekend and fasting at the same time would be rough,  but my sleep schedule’s a bit messed up on the weekends, as I now take a nap between 5-7PM ish for an hour and end up staying from 10-3AM to work on the paper, then wake up around 9-10AM to finish the layout, etc. It’s unorthodox, but it works. Admittedly, I do miss the family vibe of Ramadan iftaars. We used to hand-make 400 samosas every Ramadan along with various other dishes, and eat them all together each night. Being in university, I generally only have one or two of these dishes, and eat alone. But as long as I have my mini samosas with me, I’m content.

Ramadan also precedes Eid-ul-Fitr, a holiday marking the end of Ramadan, which means eating is allowed in between the times mentioned before. This often means parties, food, and activities between families. Eid is celebrated the day after Ramadan ends, but parties can still be planned for weekends following the date. During the past few Eids, my family has gone through multiple houses in a day just to visit, eat, and talk. We repeat that throughout the week and following weekends for various Eid parties, and then host our own at our house, marking off the Eid celebrations with a bang. Generally, this is the time I feel like I gain all the weight I lost during Ramadan, which is funny because losing weight in Ramadan is actually not as common as you might think. Although we fast for most of the day, the times that we can eat, people tend to binge on food that make them feel full, which can end up causing them to gain weight. The key is to eat moderately as well as healthily to make sure the next day’s fast is easy. Drink lots of water, don’t eat too much acidic and oily foods, and be sure to get some exercise too.

Part of me joining the Iron Warrior was to stay in touch with news, as I was not a news-heavy person entering university. Now I kind of am, and I guess I’m angrier at the world sometimes, but glad I’m not oblivious, or even worse, apathetic. Which is good since I need to produce this paper every two weeks. Another reason I joined was because I’ve always enjoyed etymology and vocabulary. I think this stems from my spelling bee ages as a child. When I was in third and fourth grade, I participated in a few spelling bees. I took first place in the Islamic school-wide spelling bee, and third in the Mississauga spelling bee. The one thing I remember clearly was the enjoyment of learning all the words and their etymologies, while simultaneously hating competing in the bees. The fact that I had to go up there and spell one word, then wait 30 minutes for my next word was straight up, well, boring. So I’m going to share a word every single issue in this editorial, which may or may not be related to what I’m talking about. This issue’s word is from the May 18th Merriam Webster word of the day. Muliebrity (myoo-lee-EB-ruh-tee), which is defined as the quality of being a woman; femininity. It comes from the Latin muliebritās. I’ve never seen this word before, let alone in a sentence, but I’ve always found random synonyms like these to be interesting and always try to work them in my vocabulary. And thus I encourage you too. Obviously don’t try to sound like some high-snob stereotypical rich boy, but I think knowing these definitions are interesting in the development of how we communicate with each other. And if not in your speaking, try incorporating it into your writing. My time here in the IW newspaper has led me to reading some of my old articles, and realize how little I’ve actually improved in terms of my vocabulary. Thus I started reading more books, and am slowly feeling myself getting better at wording my words. Side note: if you have book suggestions please find me on Facebook and suggest them to me. Talk to me about your favourite book and why I should read it. Preferably non-fiction, but I’m open minded to a conversation.

And thus concludes the first editorial, which is only 19 hours late from my own imposed deadline. Whatever, I’m the boss now and I do what I want, and I’m hungry.

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