Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Semester Goals - Summer 2017


    Ahoy Mates!
    So the  beginning of the new semester is slowly approaching. I have decided to take the Summer Semester this year so as to not forget the little Arabic I learnt.
    If you have read my Reflections post, you know that I want to be setting goals for myself every semester. Setting goals helps me stay focused and motivated throughout the semester. This has happened so many times with me, that I've set goals in my mind and forgotten them by the end of the school year. But now, I've decided to actually write them down and post them here so that I can be more accountable and also inspire others to do the same.
    This semester I have decided to set 10 goals. Hopefully, by the end of the semester, I'll have accomplished all my goals. So here goes -

    1. Eat out only once a week :
    In the last semester, I had to spend more than 12-13 hours In the college due to the schedule of my classes. This way, even though I took lunch with me, I would still become very hungry and end up buying something from the cafeteria or the KFC on the way home to satisfy my hunger. This not only emptied out my allowance but also impacted my health.
    This semester, I am aiming to set a restriction to myself to just eat from outside ONCE in a week and twice if I happen to go out with friends.

    1. Rewrite notes within 48 hours of class:
    This is by far the most important goal of my semester. Last semester, I used to come back home and immediately start rewriting notes in my notebook. But this started to tire me out so I stopped writing them towards the end of the semester. Which in turn meant that I had notes all over the place. Since I was studying Arabic, I hadn't found a suitable note making process yet so I ended up having vocabulary, grammar, dates and names spread all over my pages without a head or a tail. This time I want to make sure to come back home, revise what I learnt and rewrite my notes so I can retain in my memory what I learnt in college that day instead of procrastinating.

    1. Walk or workout everyday:
    Last semester me, my professor and a few others from my class got into a habit of walking every day for an hour before class. This helped us stay fit, speak in Arabic and get to know each other better. I intend to make a habit out of this and continue it even in this semester. Either I will walk every day or if I don’t walk I can do some stretching exercises- just to stay fit.

    1. Get into the sports club:
    My college has this sports club which has loads of facilities like swimming pool, tennis, football and many other things. I had heard about it from my classmates who were a part of it and decided to join. Then I came to know that we had to get a card made for it which had a long procedure of getting a certificate that you're medically fit and so on. Since I was too lazy to do that last semester, I want to do it this time. Every Tuesday and Thursday my classmates go swimming. I've always wanted to learn swimming, but since didn’t have a pool close to my house I couldn’t. but now I intend to make full use of the opportunity.

    1. Read other books :
    Last semester,  due to all the hours I spent in college and the piles of homework I was drowning in later, I did not get a chance to read any books that were outside my syllabus. I would go to my library but just to study or do my projects. My bookshelf is full of so many books that I haven't read. I intend to finish at least 10 new books this new semester that are outside my course readings.

    1. Eat breakfast everyday:
    Again, due to the insane amounts of hours spend in college, and the early timings of my classes; I had to leave really  early from home. Which meant I didn’t have time for breakfast. Some days if I woke up a bit early (4:30/5:00 I would make myself a small sandwich or noodles to eat before leaving. But usually my time was taken up by the lunch preparations. This time I definitely will push myself to eat breakfast every day since it’s the most important meal of the day and will also prevent me from feeling extra hungry even after my lunch.

    1. Make a Study Plan and stick to it:
    This is really important, trust me. I want to come home and study everyday so that I can be prepared for my exams beforehand instead of doing it last moment like I did last semester. Due to studying last moment my final grade had been in the 80s which brings me to my next goal.

    1. 80% at least
    Yes I know. Even though you got your last semester grades in the 80s you still don’t want to improve want to get at least an 80% in my new class because these will be much more advanced and tough compared to my last semester classes. Thus, even an 80% is more than enough. But if I get more, that’s a bonus,right!

    1. Blog at least twice in a month
    Pretty self-explanatory. I usually post once a month on the blog and once a week on social media. But this time, I plan to make a social media posting schedule and update the blog twice a month.

    1. Laundry twice a month
    I hate doing laundry. I mean, who doesn’t right? Due to this hatred, and due to the fact that I have loads of clothes' I would usually procrastinate doing my laundry either at the end of the month or wait until my mother did it. But this time, I plan to laundry every two weeks and get it out of my way.


    Hopefully, I can stick to all my plans and accomplish all the above goals.
     What are your goals this semester?
    Send me an email at ahoycollege@gmail.com or reply to the Semester Goals Newsletter in your inbox and send me your goals so I can help you achieve them too and give you loads of tips!

    With loads of love,
    Halima
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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Reflections - Fall 2017





Ahoy Mates!
How are you all feeling today?
Now, that the Spring Semester is over, you've got your grades and the summer is starting; what are you guys up to? I would love to hear your summer plans.
As for me, I've got lots of plans. Though I am not taking this summer off (yes, I am going to be attending the summer semester too) there a lot of goals on my list this summer that I look forward to completing.
But before getting into my summer goals, I've decided to start something new.
It's a new blog series called - Reflections.
Basically, at the end of every semester, I'll be posting a few things I've learned that semester, a few things that I did wrong and how I plan to improve for the next semester.
This series will help me stay on track, productive and learn from my past mistakes.
I recommend you all to start working on your Reflections too. You definitely don’t have to dwell on your past but you can learn from it and become better.
So, grab my Reflections Worksheet and get to work!

The first semester I started College was the Spring Semester and not the Fall semester so I am going to post my Reflections on the Spring Semester 2017 -

Things I learnt this semester :

Arabic is not that hard : No I am not kidding, trust me. When I first found out that my whole college degree would be in Arabic, I naturally freaked out. And when I learnt that I had to do a whole foundation semester to improve my Arabic, I freaked out more. Yes, I could read and write and understand Arabic, but when I first started my classes, I was honestly shocked! They all spoke in fluent Classic Arabic. I was absolutely horrified. I couldn’t understand more than a few words since I spoke the Kuwaiti dialect and not the Classic Arabic. Also the fact that Arabic grammar constituted to 80% of the marks upset me. But thankfully I had studied a bit of Arabic grammar in my childhood so that kind of helped me out. I even moved classes (from level 2 to level 1 ) just on the second day of college.
But later on, I regretted it. Level 1 was too easy. I missed level 2 even though I had only been there for two days. Then I changed back again! And I don’t regret a minute of it. I realised that it only seemed hard in the first week. I just had to work a bit harder and focus more. Even though I joined in the second semester and missed most of what was taught, I could easily catch up. I started going on daily walks with a few of my classmates and our professor where we would only speak Arabic and I started improving so much! The daily talks really helped me. And I realised that all the complexity was just in my head. Arabic wasn’t that hard. Yes, I'm not perfect but I've definitely improved and have now developed a new love for this beautiful language.

Making friends is crucial: In the beginning of the semester, I was this very awkward, shy and fully covered up person. Everyone already knew everyone since they had been together for a whole semester already. I was the new kid. Even though I'm a very social person, I just couldn’t seem to make any friends. what's worse, all of them lived in the dormitory, were from different countries and spoke fluent Arabic. After a few weeks of this, I decided that I would give up trying to make new friends. we had literally nothing in common. I loved Kuwait while they all spoke badly about it. And so I thought I was better off without any friends. Oh, how wrong I was!
My classmates all planned a get together in Souq Mubarakiya with the professor and I was contemplating not going, but thank God I decided to go! I sat with new people, made new friends and got to know them all. In addition to this, the early morning pre-class walks helped a lot too. I made friends with people who weren't on my level and it was an amazing feeling. I had someone with whom I could share similar interests and talk about homework. I can honestly say that I wouldn't have been able to pass out with my sanity intact if it weren't for my classmates!

Studying every day is very important : I did this in the beginning of the semester but started to slack off towards the end. And that really cost me my marks. It's really important to come back home Abd study and revise your notes. I had even stopped submitting my homework's towards the end of the semester due to laziness. But next sem I plan to get rid of this habit.

You don’t have to be speaking all the time. Sometimes, silence is golden and better: this was one of the biggest lessons I learnt this semester. Sometimes people say things that you may not agree with or that you don’t like. That does not mean that you have to go running your mouth off. Sometimes it's better to keep quiet. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And keeping quiet will prevent so many problems.

Grateful for :
Professor : I am especially grateful for my professor this semester. He had been helping me right from the beginning even before the classes started and helped me throughout the semester. He even helped me choose and register for classes in the next semester. He was really friendly, funny and supportive. Though his methods were strict, they really helped me improve.

Classmates : There were these three girls from Turkey whom I am the most grateful for. They became my friends on the first day when I was this scared little freshman who had no idea about anything. They were so supportive and encouraging and took me under their wing.

My Friend: She was this one friend of mine who knew Arabic. She helped me throughout the semester in chatting, in my homework's, and even attended one of my classes with me where she helped me with the class discussion. It was a blessing having someone like her. Seriously guys get yourselves and Arab or an Arabic speaking friend!

Three things I want to improve in the next semester :
  • Study everyday
  • Put more time into the blog
  • Use extra sources and put in extra work

Overall feel of this semester on the  :
Personal Level - 9 : I grew so much personally and learned loads of things this semester
Academic Level- 8 : My grades were stuck in the 82-83% range but considering the fact that it was completely in a different language, I am happy, kind of.
Social Level -10 : I made so many new friends and built a very good bond with without losing contact with my old friends.
Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start reflecting on your semester and life too.
If you are ready to reflect and improve, grab the Reflections Worksheet from the Resource Library by entering the password or by Subscribing to the Ahoy College Newsletter.


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Hit reply to the Reflections Mail you received and let me know,
What are some of the things you would like to reflect upon?
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Sunday, May 28, 2017

How to Make the Best out of Ramadan



O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.
Baqarah - 183
The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion
Baqarah – 185

Assalamu alaikum!
 Ramadan Mubarak to every one of you.
Ramadan is a blessed month awaited every year by Muslims all over the World.
This is the month when the Quran was revealed.
So, let’s all use this month to strive to get good deeds, build a relationship with Allah and Quran and get closer to Him.
Today I want to share a few tips with you all to stay productive in Ramadan. This month is too short so let’s all make an effort to utilise every single moment.

1.       Quran: As we all know, Ramadan is the month of Quran, the month when this Holy Book was revealed. So, let’s use this month to form a strong bond with the word of Allah SWT. Read Quran every day. Remember that it’s not important how many times you finish the Quran in this month but rather how much you understood.
A practical advice I would like to give you all is to not jump in right away and start reading two-three pages every day. Because let’s face it, it’s impossible to cover even one page if you haven’t been reading it at all earlier.
So rather focus on reading even an Ayah every day, understanding it, pondering over it and connecting it to your life. Listen to Tafseer or lectures regarding the surah and understand what they are saying.
Make a QURAN PLAN for Ramadan, where you write down what surah you covered and what you learned from them – pillars of Iman, Allah’s Names and Attributes, Commands and Prohibitions etc.
Remember it’ not the quantity that matters, it’s the quality.

2.       Dhikr – Constantly keep the remembrance of Allah on your tongue. Yes, the Shayateen and Jinnat are chained but your biggest challenge is you yourself- your desires. So keep remembering Allah and doping Dhikr. LA ilaha illa Allah, Subhanallahi WA bi hamdihi, Subhanallah IL azeem and many others are words that are light on the tongue but heavy on the scales.

3.       Faraid (obligations) – yes Ramadan is a month for gaining good deed. For doing qiyam, for giving charity. But what’s the point in doing all this when you’re missing out on your Faraid (obligations)?
You sleep and miss your Fajr Prayer but go out for Taraweeh.
Focus on your Obligation first. If throughout the year, you haven’t been able to pry all five prayers, make an effort to change that in Ramadan, Struggle to complete your obligations and then think about the Voluntary actions. The voluntary actions won’t make any difference if your obligations aren’t complete. Think of your obligations as the pillars of a building (Iman) and voluntary acts as the decoration inside. If the pillars are wobbly, will the decorations stay?

4.       Continue your efforts after Ramadan : A good way to know if your fasts will be accepted is by looking at yourself on the Eid day. How are you behaving? Are you going back to how you were before Ramadan? Back to Music, back to Missing prayers and back to swearing?
If this is the case, then it might be a warning sign. A sign of the acceptance of your fasts is that your efforts and deeds continue even after Ramadan.

5.       Taqwa – Increase your Taqwa in this month. Be extra aware of what you’re doing, what you’re saying, what you’re eating! Hold yourself accountable before you’re held accountable. Rectify your deeds and ask for forgiveness

6.       Dua – Make loads and loads of Dua in this month. In one of the Hadith of the Prophet SAW he mentions that Allah SWT accepts the du of a slave every day. Make a List of things you want to ask Allah SWT and sit at the time of Iftar and ask Allah SWT – everything. Nothing is too small or too big for Him. Ask for Jannat ul Firdaus, ask for HIS forgiveness, ask for that new shirt you want to buy for Eid- anything, Just ASK!

7.       Goals- Make a list of goals you want to achieve in this Ramadan. Break down these goals into small actionable steps and work on them every day. Make an everyday checklist with items from this list and work on them. This will prompt you to be more productive and accountable. At the end of the month, you can even reward yourself when you achieve these goals. Some examples could be –

·         Hifz Amma Para
·         Help mum with chores
·         Read two ayahs every day and ponder over them
·         Do a good deed that nobody knows for Allah’s sake

8.       Charity- every small deed in this month counts. Start by giving a small amount every day. It doesn’t have to be money. Even a smile is Charity in Islam! You could give even a 100 fils every day and it would count for a lot depending on your intention.

9.       Intention: the most important part. No matter what you do, make an intention to do it solely for Allah’s sake. Seek only His pleasure, only His closeness.

10.   Relationships – take this month to improve relationships with your friends and family. Visit them. Go to Iftar parties. Invite them. And talk about Allah SWT. Share knowledge that each of you has. Use each other to get closer to Allah SWT. Talk about the prophets, about the Sahabahs, and share your pondering over the Quran with them.

I hope these few tips will help you to make the best out of this blessed month.
With loads of Love,
Halima.



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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Favorite College Apps


Ahoy mates,  
How are you all feeling today? 
In today's busy, busy world, the only thing we actually have time for is our phone. 
And with the advancement technology has made, every single thing is easily available on the small box that we have stuck to our hands. 
Since it makes our life so easy why not also make our college life easy? 
Trust me when I say that there are loads of apps that could help you in finishing your homework, getting organized, productive and help you survive. 
It's basically just a free virtual assistant. 
So here are some of my favorite, free apps that'll help you get your life together. 

  1. Alarmy - Sleep if you can!-  With a tagline like that, it's easy to understand why Alarmy won the award for being the 'world's most annoying alarm'. 
It has got many different ways of waking you up- and making sure you stay up- such as solving a math question, taking a picture similar to the one you took earlier, shaking the phone a number of times and the default feature where you just swipe to dismiss the alarm. 
I've been using this app for a long time and trust me it's perfect for when you have early morning classes that you don't want to get up for but have to. 



  1. Sworkit! - So, how many years have passed with us making new resolutions to stay fit and exercise every day? But in the end, after a day or two, we switch back to our very yummy burgers and lounging lazily on the couch. If you are one to avoid  the gym (simply because you are lazy to go), this app is perfect for you. It has many equipment-less exercises and timed circuits that you can do right in your dorm room – on the couch – no gym required! So, sorry mate, now you've got no excuse to NOT exercise. 
BONUS: it also syncs to your Google Fit account to keep track of your progress! 


  1. OneNote - If you are crazy about organizing and having everything sorted into its own category, this app is for you. It allows you to make notebooks, have sections in those notebooks and also insert pages into those sections. Isn't that amazing?! Perfect for taking notes, making lists, planning projects; basically everything. You can color-code your notes, pages and sections; highlight important stuff; share notes and collaborate on group projects; and also access it anywhere- phone, computer, iPad, tab wherever!. 
It also allows you to search your notes, convert text from images into text, and save documents inside your notes. 


  1. Talabat – This app is for those times when your stomach starts growling in the middle of the class or you have a sudden craving to eat a specific food. Order from thousands of restaurants easily with just a few clicks. It will also suggest restaurants close to your area and based on your previous orders. Easy, simple and effective. 

  1. Duolingo -  Want to learn a new language? This is the app for you if you're taking a foreign language class or want to learn a new language just because you can . Its easy to use and very interactive. With its preset classes and tests, its very fun and addictive. 



  1. Google Fit - Reach your fitness goals. Set goals based on steps, time, distance, calories burned. Receive personalized recommendations and coaching for activity goals. If you're like me, a person who love to keep track of every activity then this app is perfect for you. It also syncs with Sworkit to record your progress and calories. Effortlessly track any activity. As you walk, run, or cycle throughout the day, your phone or Android Wear watch automatically logs them with Google Fit. 

Image result for google fit apple store

  1. Almaany – This is the best app if you are living in an Arab country or are learning Arabic. We all know the disastrous translations of Google translate. Almaany gives many meanings for the same word, and many forms of the same word. It is basically like an online dictionary, just compact and better. 

  1. Google Drive : One of the best collaboration tools, which is often used in working for group projects and assignments or to facilitate communication in study groups. But it can also be used for organizing your study. Store your folders and important documents online to access it anytime and anywhere. Easy access and easy editing. 

Image result for google drive

  1. Flat Tomato : This is my favorite app to use for the Pomodoro method. Pomodoro method is a productivity trick to help you stay organized and productive where you work for 25 mins and then take a break of 5 minutes and then after every 4 Pomodoro sessions you take a long break. It is easy to use, and is perfectly-aligned with Pomodoro, including timing the intervals, the breaks, and remembering that you've done 4 cycles so you need a longer break. It also tracks user-defined categories so you can review how you've spent your time (in an attractive, graphical chart). It also shows the status of the current interval on the lock screen. 



10. Google Keep : Google Keep is a syncing notepad that connects to Google Drive. It also supports photo notes, voice notes, and checklists. it lets you quickly take and save those notes, photos, voice memos, and checklists to Google Drive, and then access them again on any other web-connected device you use. It's ideal for quick note-taking on the go, anyone who appreciates simple, fast note-taking tools or to-do apps, or for saving notes on the desktop that you know you'll need on your Android phone, like shopping lists, addresses, phone numbers, checklists and to-do lists, or conference call codes. Perfect for college students as we have loads of things going on at once and its hard to remember them all. 

Image result for google keep

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I hope these apps are as useful to you as they were to me! 
Do you have any favorite apps that make your life a bit more easier? 
Have you used any of these apps? What do you think? 
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