The Graduation Edition
Cover design and inside art by Mehreen Rasheed
5 6 7 8 9 10/11
Graduates 2011 Final Salute to Our Graduating Seniors
News 2011-2012 MSA & MWM Presidents: Muneer Zuhurudeen & Noha Eshera
News NAMI Walks!, Tara Mohammed
Lifestyle The (Almost) 10 Pieces of Advice I Wished I Received, Mustafa Abugideiri
Spirituality The Mystery of Tawakol, Mohammed Shaikh Hadith of the Month. Provided by Susan Shatila
Feature Oh The Places You’ll Go... Omnia Joehar & Jamal Aladdin
The Man on My Way to Work, Anonymous
Dawah in Action Goes Both Ways, Jamal Jeter
Alumni Spotlight: Diaur Rahman, Tubah Sultan
Message from Our Advisers Graduation: The New Chapter in Your Lives, Sahar Khamis ...Just Don’t Choose Indifference Tarif Shraim
Historian Page MSA 2010-2011 Memories
It’s hard to believe that the school year is coming to an end and our beloved seniors are starting a new journey in their lives! This issue is dedicated to our hardworking graduates who have allowed the MSA and MWM to further their missions and goals! We have seen the impact some members have had on the organizations, and their presence will surely be missed! Alhamdulilah, we have many articles geared towards
re-evaluating our mentality and priorities in life, and truly striving to avoid indifference—whether academically or spiritually. Although this is the final issue of Al-Nur for the 2010-2011 school year, I must thank all of my writers, editors, and layout designers for making this publication a success this semester! I hope you all the best on your finals and a blessed summer vacation Insha’Allah! Bushrah Rahman Msa.email@example.com www.issuu.com/alnur
A Special Thanks to:
President: Areeb Quasem Vice President: Rushain Abbasi Secretary: Osama Eshera Treasurer: Mustafa Abugideiri Masjid Affairs: Fuad Saif CAIL Head Librarian: Zulekha Sayyed Public Relations: Muneer Zuhurudeen VP of Sisters’ Affairs: Manaar Zuhurudeen
Editors: Sofia Beg Mefruz Haque Layout Designers: Jamal Aladdin Sofia Beg Sheima Gimie Mehreen Rasheed Writers/Contributors: Mustafa Abugideiri Noha Eshera Jamal Jeter Omnia Joehar Tara Mohammed Sarah Mostafa
Mohammed Shaikh Susan Shatila Tubah Sultan Muneer Zuhurudeen Our Advisers & Graduating Seniors
President: Naomi Henry Vice President: Shabnom Khan Secretary: Noha Eshera Treasurer: Susan Shatila Public Relations: Omnia Joehar SGA Liason: Amina Haleem
Congrats 2011 Grads!
Brothers Nasser Ameen Yusuf Salloum Ismail Nicholas Fuad Saif Mustafa Abugideiri Omar Elnabawi Faisal Hassan Jamal Aladdin Ali Khalid Mohmad Muqueeth Jamal Jeter Jamal Zaghal Nicolas Hoffman Omar Saber Hamoudi Al Yaman Karam Rajab Abdulmalik Abdullah Uzair Madani Zan Naseer Ali Mumtaz
Sisters Manaar Zuhurudeen Naomi Henry Shabnom Khan Susan Shatila Zainab Jackson Hafsa Mustafa Sofia Oumer Tubah Sultan Neelam Sultan Tooba Mohammed Parnia Ashktorab Farzaneh M. Zoha Tofaghodi Maryam Emdadian Leyla Norooz Rida Zuberi Kristin Lake Habiba Wada
News | 2011-2012 MSA & MWM Presidents
Our New MSA President: Muneer Zuhurudeen Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering This year on cabinet, we placed a large emphasis on promoting outreach and trying to empower members through various activities. These themes were chosen for many reasons, but ultimately because they are essential in order to successfully accomplish the role prescribed by Allah (swt) for mankind; to be khulafah on earth. We all need to have that love fostered within us to better ourselves for our Lord and then export that love and motivation to those around us, whether it be through actively calling others to Islam, or through our day-to-day activities. With such conviction in the belief that these ideas should play a major role in our lives, especially on a campus with more than 37,000 students, I would love to continue to emphasize them into next year. I’m hoping insha’Allah that these themes can manifest themselves into two phases during next year: active
participation and involvement by current and new members during our first semester, and development of these members during the second semester. Brotherhood has had a huge effect on my progression into someone who tries to be a better Muslim, and I’m sure many others who have gone through this transition will trace it, after Allah, back to the same place. Thus, it is essential that the MSA provide a welcoming environ-
ment. This begins with each of us putting forth the effort to spread salaams and invest the time into caring for our brothers and sisters, even those whom we don’t currently know. Our unity through faith is a connection that, at times, should rival blood and if we can learn to value these relationships on this campus, we will be one step closer to an ummah that truly operates as one single body. Leading into second semester, I hope to provide the means for all of us to blossom into leaders of our community with a firm grounding in our Islamic ideals. Action is always important, but action with sound knowledge is how we can truly enact change on this campus and in our surrounding communities. I sincerely ask Allah to continue to place barakah in this organization, make it a light on campus, bestow sincerity and justice within our leaders, and make next year our best yet!
Our New MWM President: Noha Eshera Junior, Physiology/Neurobiology This past year has been awesome. Everything we’ve done, every person I’ve talked to, has truly been remarkable. But just as our community reaches new heights - so do the challenges we face. In the coming year, I see a Muslim community that is able to move beyond the semantics of titles and divisions; a community that promotes tolerance, acceptance, and understanding beyond just face-value. I see a community that holds its ties in faith to be greater than its ties to any one ethnicity, culture,or personal ideology. I see a community ready to move towards positive change both internally and externally; one that is able to make a positive, felt impact on our campus. Looking forward to next year, I want to see a movement away from just small scale sisters-only events to becoming spokeswomen for Muslims on campus. From increasing our presence in the interfaith scene, to ensuring our activism in women's rights efforts (we
Image taken by Anisah Imani
are, after all, as much women as we are Muslim) to educating the campus community on that fine balance between the two. I hope to establish the MWM as
the voice of the female body within the larger Muslim community, the MSA. Our missions, in essence, are one and the same - rooted in the principles of Islam, activism, and leadership. Between the MSA, the MWM, and their members, I hope to improve communication and understanding so that we all realize our opportunity to be agents of change within our community and on-campus. To impact this change, we need to use the array of talents that each person (that’s you!) brings to the community. Everyone has something especially unique to contribute. By the end of next year, I hope that everyone finds a home in the Muslim community on campus and is empowered to be a motive force for improvement personally, spiritually, and socially. I'm honored, humbled, and inspired that I have been elected to be the next MWM president. I look forward to working with you all in facilitating and supporting all your brilliant ideas.
NAMI Walks! By Tara Mohammed Pie, milk, a couple tears, and many bright and beautiful faces- that is all it took to form Team Taqwa, the MSA and IHYA combined NAMI Walks team for 2011. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the largest education, support and advocacy organization that serves the needs of all those lives that are touched by these illnesses. This includes persons with mental illness, their families, friends, employers, the law enforcement community and policy makers. The NAMI organization is composed of approximately 1100 local affiliates, 50 state offices and a national office. The goals of the NAMIWalks program are: to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness, to build awareness of the fact that the mental health system in this country needs to be improved, and to raise funds for NAMI so that they can continue their mission. So far, Team Taqwa has about 35 interested members but we still need your help! We only have a little over 2 weeks left and we still have a long way to go in terms of fundraising. It is a really great opportunity for anyone who is interested. One of the best qualities of our MSA is our great sisterhood and brother-
hood. This walk will only bring us that much closer together. So join us and to end this year walking for a cause!
To donate or sign up with our team visit www.nami.org/ namiwalks11/BAL/teamtaqwa
The (Almost) 10 Pieces of Advice I Wish I'd Received By Mustafa Abugideiri
Generally my philosophy is for people to figure things out on their own, but I figured—hey, what the heck, as I ride into the sunset, I might as well give the people a few gems that I wish I knew when I was younger. So I started making a list. No particular order, but just whatever came to mind that I thought you might benefit you. 1. Never have a bad day. Honestly, you control your mood. It’s all about outlook. When something happens, you can either take it in stride with a smile or let it dampen your day. Every opportunity gives you the opportunity to increase or decrease your faith; it just depends on your attitude.
5. Don’t postpone something to tomorrow that you could do today. If you want to do something, do it. Otherwise, you'll find yourself on a collision course with regret. 6. If it ain't you, it ain't true. Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to be something you're not. Be proud of your deen. It is honestly such a blessing to have this religion. We already have the recipe for success and happiness; don’t go seeking it elsewhere.
7. We need to see Allah in everything, even things that are part of your normal routine. When we make our intention to please Allah, every action becomes worship (i.e. eating to provide your body 2. Surround yourself with good company. No sustenance to go worship better, or appreciating matter who you are or how strong you are, at the the blessings from Allah, etc.). Doing so also allows end of the day, it makes practicing your deen and us to avoid depending on others for praise because being a better person that much easier. It will our reward is with Allah. propel you closer to Allah SWT, and you will never regret the sacrifice. 8. Keep your eyes on the prize and your soul on the goal. You know what the end game is. Plan ac3. Live like you are on vacation. What do I mean cordingly in this life and for the akhira for the by this? When you are on vacation, how relaxed amount of time you are going to spend in each are you? How much do you reflect on your life life. Y’all can do the math. Put the time in for getand direction? When you go on vacation, do you ting ready for the real life. create a list of how things could be different or all the great things you want to implement in your 9. It’s not about halal or haram. This is such a relife, yet when you get back home, you get sucked strictive way to look at the world and the choices into the routine and monotony you create for we can make. Get on the next level. Ask yourself: yourself? Which brings up another point... "will this get me closer to Allah? Will this please my Lord? Will this get me to Jannah?" That is how we 4. Don’t get stuck in a perpetual routine. Days, should approach every decision we make. That's weeks, months, and even years can pass and we ihsan at work. find ourselves lost as part of an assembly line. Add some flavor in your life. Do what is impor10. Sorry, the word limit got me. Come up with your tant to you, as opposed to what you think you own piece of advice here; you're more likely to folshould do, or what society tells you to do. low it anyway.
The Mystery of Tawakol By Mohammed Shaikh Exams are about to start and many of us nowadays are preparing with much frustration. Instead of being discouraged, a great word we Muslims can apply in times of difficulty to ease ourselves is Tawakol; putting our trust in Allah subhanah wa tala. However, some of us might use this word without even fully believing in it. I, for one, can truly understand the reasons behind that. I had a lot of difficulty understanding this concept until Allah allowed me to understand what Tawakol really means and how it should be applied. Some of us might think that if Allah is the one who will decide the end result for everyone, then why are many disbelievers far better off than some of Muslims? Allah says this in his book: ―Whoever desires (just) this pre-
sent life, We hasten to him therein what We please for whomsoever We desire, then We assign to him the hell fire; he shall enter it despised, driven away, And whoever desires the hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive and he is a believer - (as for) these, their striving shall surely be accepted (17:1819)‖. Allah is the one who provides for everyone – non-Muslims and Muslims. In this universe, there are many rules; we are aware of some, but are ignorant of most of them. Allah is the one who delivers these rules, and does everything out of wisdom and based on His just reasoning or His incredible generosity. Tawakol explicitly means believing in your heart that Allah is the one who gives and that the final results are
in His hands. This does not mean that you stop working and preparing for the future. We forget that most things are not in our control. In reality, the majority of what we experience in life are out of our control, like the weather, illness, traffic, and many other things. There are many signs of having tawakol. There is a difference between someone saying ―I have studied well; I should get a good grade,‖ to ―I studied and I did what I can, and inshallah I will get a good grade.‖ The conclusion is that we should do whatever is in our control while making d’ua to Allah to help us and choose what is best for us. I ask Allah to give all of us Tawakol in this life and in the next. Ameen.
Hadith of the Month Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There are two expressions which are very easy for the tongue to say, but they are very heavy in the balance and are very dear to The Beneficent (Allah). They are: „Subhan Allah Al-‟Azim and „Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi.‟”
The Holy Qur’an—image taken by current MSA student
(Bukhari Volume 8, Book 75, Number 415) Provided by Susan Shatila
The Man on My Way to Work Anonymous There was an African American man I used to pass by everyday on my way to work. His eyes were wide and incredulous and his small dark beard was peppered with white strands. Faint traces of wrinkles sketched his face and hands. I could never tell if the white hair or wrinkles were from age or from a life full of hardship. But what I remember most is his facial expression. He was always wearing a scowl, the sort of scowl one would have if they’d just heard the most disturbing piece of news ever. He stared at the people in fancy business suits rush by, but did not seem to really see them because he was always conversing with someone invisible to the rest of us. For as much as I could tell, he sat on a particular bench on the street and hardly moved from it. Seated next to him was a large, black, plastic trash bag bulging with, I assume, clothes and essential items. There has not been a time, in the past two months, that I passed by the bench and did not find him sitting on it. One rainy and miserably chilly night, as I was walking on the deserted sidewalk towards the metro station after staying late at the office, I peeked through my umbrella at the bench and almost could not believe myself. He was still sitting there, talking heatedly to no one in sight. In his hands was a large blue umbrella. On the metro ride home, I could not stop thinking about him. Does he not get bored? How could he stand to spend his mornings, afternoons, and evenings on that same bench? I began to ―study‖ him. In the morning, I would notice people offering him fruit or granola bars. One man in a business suit regularly bought him coffee. He never begged and he would turn down large amounts of money. I could tell he was in touch with reality, because he would give exact change to those who offered him large bills.
Sometimes, he would read a newspaper or a restaurant brochure. Over time, my fear of him became replaced with compassion. I realized that the man was not simply homeless, but also mentally ill. “Schizophrenic”, my co-workers posed. I resolved to find out more about his story. At least, I wanted to know his name. As I was preparing to approach him one day, an apple clenched tightly in one hand, my legs stubbornly resisted walking towards the bench. I was nervous and not yet sure what I would say. Dejected, I entered my office and resolved that I would try to have an exchange with him again the second day. The following day, I was late to work and ran swiftly past him, all thoughts of talking to him eliminated from my head. It was pouring rain that same afternoon. As I strolled past the bench on my way home, I heard a choking noise and turned to find the man shivering under his umbrella. He was coughing violently and looked as though he had caught a bad cold. I hesitated before approaching him. ―Do you have some medicine?‖ I asked tentatively. He continued to cough. I spoke louder. ―Can I get you some medicine?‖ He began to speak. ―Man, I told you not to say that! Man, you just don’t listen. You don’t listen! Look what you’ve done.‖ Something about the way he was talking moved me to tears. I sprinted to a nearby CVS and grabbed some liquid Tylenol from off the shelf. Without even pausing to think, I ran back to the bench and found the man still talking to himself.
―Here. Please take this.‖ I thrust the medicine in front of him. He continued talking to himself, ignoring the medicine. ―Please, take this. And go indoors. You will get very sick if you stay out here.‖ I lay the CVS bag next to him and walked away. At the crosswalk, I looked back and saw him open the bag and pour some liquid into the medicine cup. As I walked to work the next morning, I glanced anxiously at the bench and found the man sitting, whistling to himself. He jumped when he saw me. ―Ma’am!‖ For the first time, I saw him stand up from his bench. ―My friend and I wanted to thank you for the medicine yesterday.‖ I smiled politely. ―You and your friend are very welcome.‖ He held out his hand and I shook it. Then I walked away. I never found out his name. A few days later, he abandoned his home at the bench. My co-workers informed me he was likely attacked by a group of thugs and robbed of the little money and few items he had in his possession. **************************** He sat vulnerably everyday on that bench, his home, and did not ask very much from anyone. He refused help beyond basic food and spare change, and was likely unaware of his own predicament. I do not know if therapy would have helped him, or if his condition was too severe. One thing is for sure, there are thousands of mentally ill individuals roaming city streets that are unable to fend for themselves. These individuals are not simply ―lazy‖ or ―apathetic‖ and deserve our care, support, and immediate attention.
Dawah-in-Action Goes Both Ways By: Jamal Jeter This past spring break I was granted the opportunity to participate with the National Relief Network, along with 20 other Maryland students, and travel to New Orleans. The most inspiring element of my journey was people. Through my interaction with other students and many of the New Orleans residents, I gained a greater apperception for life and a greater appreciation for being a Muslim. We lived and worked together, and spent countless hours driving, talking, and connecting. Through it all, we came to a consensus that the people of New Orleans represented a level of resilience that we had not witnessed on such a large scale before.
being carried away as well. All they could do was watch and huddle together on the roof, battered by the hurricane wind and rain. After all this, Robert Green was the first one back in his neighborhood. He chose to have his FEMA trailer placed right where his house once stood in the then desolate neighborhood. Robert was determined his neighborhood would return and be rebuilt. From telling his story and his trust in God, much restoration has happened. On our trip, we witnessed a recovering neighborhood with now ecofriendly hurricane resistant homes in this section of the lower ninth ward. Robert Green and many other natives had this strong positive mentality. The people were thankful to God and hopeful for the future despite what they lost. One man we met who lived along the swap and owned a boat dock lost everything during the storm, but he said,
â€•I wake up every day before sunrise and I thank God for giving me another day, then I thank God for all he has given me, then I thank God for giving me the words to thank him.â€– One example Iâ€™d like to mention is a man we met in the lower Ninth Ward by the name of Robert Green. The storm broke the levee near his home, flooding his house by feet per minute. As the family waited on the roof, their home was picked up and floated away as it broke apart. He and eight of his family members had to jump to a nearby roof for safety. As they jumped, his mother and two year old granddaughter fell in the dark, fast, swirling water. Due to the fast current and debris, no one could save them for risk of
work and live with others, I had time to share my faith in all aspects - what I ate, when and why I prayed, and what I did. More than anything, I kept an open mind and heart to all the good from others and tried to share whatever good I had as well. I only hope that I was able to provide some kind of insight into Islam to all those I met to the same degree they were able to affect me for the better. That being said, I challenge all of us to take advantage of many of these opportunities because we never know what Allah(swt) has in store for us and how it will affect our lives.
This and all of the expressions of the people reminded me of my purpose and inspired our whole group. Within four days of waking up at 6am and working till after 5pm, we were able to plant around 10,000 trees. Needless to say, something was rooted deeper than the trees - my love and appreciation for service. It became evident that as a Muslim it is crucial that I not only work within the Muslim community but also reach out to people from all backgrounds. Since I had the opportunity to
Alumni Spotlight: Diaur Rahman By Tubah Sultan Education: BS in Logistics, Transportation & Supply Chain Mgmt (UMCP) Year you graduated: 2005 Current Position: Logistics Analyst, JDSU Hometown: Frederick, MD Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Cookies and Cream Are you currently a member of the Muslim Alumni of UMD? Yes What is your favorite memory at UMD? My single most favorite memory at UMD is meeting Sami Said for the first time. Let’s just say it was an unforgettable experience! What is something that people don’t know about you? I don't like video games and text messaging. I really like American sedans/luxury cars including the ―classic‖ late 80s and 90s models such as the ’88 Lincoln Towncar, ’90 Chevy Caprice, ’95 Chevy Impala SS, and the ’92 Cadillac Brougham (which in my opinion is the most beautiful car Brother Diaur Rahman
ever made!). Life after college. What opportunities did the MSA provide that benefited you after you left school? The MSA shaped my friends list and in conjunction my identity as a Muslim. Prior to my involvement with the MSA, I didn't have many Muslim friends and wasn't part of any Muslim community. The MSA changed all that Alhamdulillah! If you could give advice to graduating seniors what would it be? First of all, congratulations! Second, be sure to join the alumni google group: Muslim Alumni of UMD as well as the facebook and twitter groups so you can keep in touch with the latest alumni happenings! If you’re going to go into the workforce, don’t look at money as the determining factor i.e. don’t pick a job just because it pays more than other jobs. The money will come as you gain hands-on experience inshaAllah. Instead, you should pick a job based on the content of the work (i.e. is it something you like to do?) and the manager/supervisor. Having a good manager/supervisor makes all the difference! If you’re planning to go into grad school and need some advice, you’re in luck because you have a whole army of MSA alumni who have gone through the whole med/law/ dental/and every other graduate school application process and can offer up some great tips, AND get this: all that great advice is free of charge!
Message from Our Advisers Graduation: The New Chapter in Your Lives…Opportunities and Challenges By Sahar Khamis When I was an undergraduate, my one and only dream was: ―When will I put on this graduation gown, walk on stage, and receive my diploma?‖ It was the hope of graduating from the university that always occupied my mind. It meant opening new doors, allowing new opportunities, and empowering me with a sense of independence. However, looking back many years later, I now realize that my happiest and most joyful years were those that I spent as a student, and that the dream of graduation also carried with it many challenges and responsibilities, more than I ever anticipated or imagined. Today, while I would like to sincerely and wholeheartedly congratulate each and every MSA/MWM member who is graduating this semester and to commend them on their hard work and impressive achievements, I would also like to capture this opportunity to highlight a number of important facts about the ―post-graduation‖ chapter of their lives and the various opportunities and
By Tarif Shraim
challenges that may come with it. There is no doubt that going out into the real world, finding a job, seeking professional advancement, and achieving financial self-sufficiency are all great prizes that come along with this new phase. It is a chance for each one of you to rediscover yourselves as human beings, in general, and as Muslims in particular, and to assert your success, achievements and progress in the professional world. It is also a great opportunity for each one of you to provide ―a positive role model‖ as a good Muslim, through interacting with a larger and more diverse group of people. In that sense, this could be considered both an opportunity, as well as a challenge, at the very same time. Another major challenge that confronts each and every one of you is to dispel, through your own words, deeds, actions and interactions with others, any negative images or distorted stereotypes about Islam, as a faith, or Muslims, as people. This is especially
important as your circle of friends, colleagues, and contacts becomes wider and more diverse. Always remember that ―actions speak louder than words‖ and that people will look at you to see an ―example‖ of a Muslim, so always strive to make it a ―good example‖! Finally, there is the challenge of maintaining contact with your Muslim friends on campus, through becoming an active and interactive MSA/MWM alumnus. This is especially important, since keeping an and most effective ways May God always guide you to the right path and make this ―new chapter‖ of your lives totally devoted for Him and for the service of His religion….Amen. Congratulations!! Sister Sahar Khamis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and an Affiliate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland. She is the advisor of the Muslim Women of Maryland. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
...Just Don’t Choose Indifference
Someone once said, ―The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it is indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it is indifference.‖ This quote speaks profoundly of how devastating the disease ―indifference‖ can be. I often wonder why, in spite of all, the knowledge we acquire in life - our actions - often don’t suggest that we care much about our supposed priorities. Perhaps it is because of indifference. The crisis with many is not that of knowledge; it’s a crisis of indifference towards what should be sacred priorities. Lives don’t magically transform. Everything worthy requires energy, effort, and most importantly, an attitude of ―I do care.‖ While many people continue to dream that their lives magically change, others quietly slip into a dangerous mode of indifference. When we know that knowledge is important and
make no effort to learn, it’s an act of difference. When we squander our energies on pursuits not suited to our souls, despite knowing the dangers, it’s an act of indifference. When we waste our time and precious lives away, it’s an act of indifference. This reality is not alien to us Muslims. Generations of Muslim students have squandered their times in college, and graduated without even acquiring the intellectual ability to distinguish fact from opinion or to know how to plan their own lives. After graduation, some of you will continue to work humbly on developing your knowledge, character and well being. Others will carry on with the same attitude of indifference. Those who work hard will earn the fruits and look back at their twenties with fondness; those who are indifferent will one day realize their loss. As you leave college, you will have very important decisions to make,
which will surely echo in your future. How will you spend your twenties? How much worth will you put on continuing to nurture your relationship with Allah and helping build the future of Islam in America? Will you be among those who disappear into oblivion after a life of activism in the MSA? Sadly, so many of our students became indifferent to the very things that they once held as sacred. Your twenties are a critical stage that cannot be squandered. Allah has given you precious lives and missions. My heart prays day and night that you will honor those sacred priorities and not fall into a world of indifference. Brother Tarif Shraim works as a manager at MarkMonitor, a company that offers brand protection and anti-fraud solutions. He's a graduate of the University of Maryland where he previously served as MSA president. He is the University Muslim chaplain, and can be contacted at: email@example.com
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The Graduation Edition