A Collegiate Coronavirus Introspection 

Recently, I’ve not been as introspective due to being quarantined and using social media excessively, so I am utilizing this space to write a kind letter to my future self. I hope this doesn’t come off as selfish. I remember watching Matthew McConaughey’s speech winning the best actor award at the Oscars in 2014. McConaughey listed three things he needed each day: “One is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase. First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to. He’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it is a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, who said, ‘When you got God you got a friend and that friend is you...’ To my family, that’s who and what I look forward to… And to my hero, that’s who I chase:”

joaquin Phoenix speech golden globes from giphy Dear Layla,

This is your last year and I want you to remember that college has been one of the best things you’ve ever experienced. The classes, the jobs, and the friendships you’ve made are irreplaceable and incredibly special, alongside every little thing you've picked up along the way. 

However, the parts other people don’t see on your Instagram stories or Facebook posts is how tempting it can be, and I mean in every aspect. You jumped into dirt puddles one too many times and you messed up again and again, but somehow it was always your hijab that pulled you up and placed you back on track. You knew that simply by wearing it you needed to act better. Believing in and wearing the hijab doesn’t make you any better or more perfect than anyone, it simply places an emphasis on your mind and intellect. Especially in college, the hijab was about renewing your promises with God, closing chapters that no longer serve you and opening chapters that bring you inner strength, will, and peace in the actions you take.

Here’s to renewing your promises to God and choosing Him over and over again no matter where you are and no matter how hard the journey gets. Finally, I truly don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I want you to know that everything will be fine. Life is short and we are infinitely small. But, no matter what don’t ever give up on the belief that we are meant to be something great.

With love, Layla

McConaughey concluded his speech by saying, “When I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say, “Who’s your hero?” And I said, “I don’t know, I’ve got to think about that. Give me a couple of weeks.” I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says, “Who’s your hero?” I said, “I thought about it. It’s me in 10 years.” Every day, every week, every month, and every year of my life, my hero’s always ten years away. I’m never going to be my hero. I’m not going to attain that. I know I’m not. And that’s just fine with me, because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing. So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasing. To that I say Amen.” 

Test Taking Rep Green Chameleon on Unsplash The reason why I chose to write a letter to myself and include McConaughey’s speech is that I wanted to think about what I really want to tell my future self and also because the part about constantly chasing my hero self really resonated with me. I think it’s important to realize one’s potential, capabilities, and set goals accordingly. We’re all different, but it’s great and we should embrace that. I am going to use this introspection to acknowledge the things I cannot change, to work towards the things I can, to better myself and to help everyone around me as much as I can.