Thoughts on Winter Break from an Alumna By Neelam Sultan Wondering how to spend this Winter Break? Alumna, Mariam Khan speaks on how she spent her Winter Breaks as a student at UMD and advises current students on how to make this Winter Break time well-spent and more meaningful. 1) How did you spend your Winter Breaks as a student at UMD? “I interned at a biotech company for two winters after working with them over the summer. One winter I also started preparing for the MSA Dawah Committee for the next semester.” 2) Over Winter Break were you a part of any non-profit or community service efforts? If so, what was the service effort and how was it a meaningful experience? “MIST outreach activities and Project Downtown. Project Downtown is a DC Council community service activity. DC Area MSAs bag lunches and distribute them to the homeless around DC. We got the chance to offer a meal to those that are less fortunate and also share conversations with them.” 3) Looking back, are there things you would have done differently or spent you time differently over Winter Break?
“Looking back, I wish we would have shared our break plans with each other to encourage and support one another in using our time wisely. Yes, some of us might be working, taking classes, spending more time with the family, etc., etc. but afterwards when we shared our 'break stories,' it always felt like we had potential to do more, especially when it came to getting closer to
“...it always felt like we had potential to do more, especially when it came to getting closer to Allah swt.” Allah swt.” 4) How is Winter Break different from Summer Break? What opportunities does Winter Break provide that are different from Summer Break? “Winter break offers a shorter period of time to experiment with things you
might be interested in. If you have thoughts about a minor or changing a major, this is a perfect time to explore the idea to make help make your decision. Also, it's a perfect time to break a bad habit. Having trouble with Fajr salah, inconsistent reading or memorization of the Qur'an, procrastination, organization (including that untidy room), or poor eating habits? Nip that bad habit in the bud this break! Six weeks is just enough time to make a change, long term or permanent. And remember the Prophet sws said: „Whoever leaves something for the sake of Allah, Allah will replace it with something better.‟ ” 5) What is your advice to current students who are not sure what to do with their time over Winter Break and wish to make the most of their Winter Break? “ My advice would be to first ask Allah swt to grant you barakah in your time. And remember: ".......my success (in my task) can only come from Allah. In Him I trust, and unto Him I look. " [Qur'an 11:88] Mariam Khan graduated in Spring 2009 with a major in the Biological Sciences (Physiology/ Neurobiology) and minor in Spanish.