I am a Boss

Howdy!

There are days when I wake up and am physically unable to get out of bed. I’m told depression does that to you, but I don’t want to believe it. My friends all tell me I’m the happiest person they know. I’m always described as bubbly, outgoing, and positive. How could I be depressed? I live for the busiest days and get excited when there’s not an open space in my schedule. How come I can’t get out of bed? My mind won’t listen to me. I want to get up. I want to accomplish things. I want to succeed. Why can’t I succeed?

You are a Boss

I am writing this post with the hope that those of you who read this are reassured that even on your worst days, you are a boss. I have no authority to advise you medically or therapeutically on mental illnesses; my only goal is to encourage you to overcome those obstacles as well as you can.

What I have learned as I’ve entered my second year in university is that when nothing in my day seems to go right, when I just can’t seem to focus on studying, when I feel insecure about myself—I am still a boss. Having bad days are not signs of weakness. Getting through them and moving forward are signs of strength. The days that make you feel fragile now will provide you with the courage, patience, and determination to overcome anything life throws at you.

Looking at Life with a Smile on your Face

“I’m a compassionate, hard-working, career-driven woman who has distinct goals in life and knows what she has to do in order to achieve them. In short, I’m a boss. For the most part, I can sort through my priorities and complete, on a daily basis, the tasks that are necessary for me to get closer and closer to achieving my goals; however, like any other human being, I have bad days as well.” This is my explanation for the depression and anxiety that I have dealt with in the last year and a half. Convincing myself that the depression was something that comprised a small part of my life rather than letting it take over all aspects of it proved to be a significant advantage in the process of overcoming it. Let your bad days be just that—bad days in a life full of good ones and you’ll be one step closer to tackling any evil that comes your way. Positivity in your attitude allows for positivity in the world around you.

If you would like to share your stories or advice on how you overcome obstacles, email iamwomanstories@gmail.com to be featured on this blog!

Thanks and Gig ’em!

*This post is not a substitute for medical advice or therapy; it is just my opinion*

Ramadan: What do I Need to Know?

Howdy!

This week marked the beginning of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, also known as Ramadan. You may know that Ramadan is the month when Muslims all around the world fast from sunrise to sunset, but you may not know that Ramadan is about much more than just abstaining from food and drink. Here are just a few things about this holy month that you might not have known before.

1. Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the first verses of the Quran in a revelation.

Well before Islam was revealed, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would often visit a cave to reflect and meditate in solitude. One night in the month of Ramadan, while he sat in the cave silent in his thoughts, a voice called out to him. “Read!” the voice commanded. This voice belonged to Angel Gabriel. The Prophet, startled, replied “I am not able to read,” but the Angel called out the same command twice more and it was then that the Prophet recited the first revelation of the Quran:

“Read! In the name of your Lord who has created

Has created man from a clot (embryo)

Read! And your Lord is Most Bountiful

Who taught by the pen

Taught man that which he knew not” (Quran 96:1-5)

2. Ramadan is a time of spiritual development and reflection, not just a time of fasting.

Many Muslims view Ramadan as a time for personal growth in their spiritual wellbeing. Fasting does not only include food and drink, but also includes bad habits such as swearing, gossiping, lying, and arguing.

“Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you

as it was prescribed to those before you, that you

may learn piety and righteousness” (Quran 2:183)

3. During Ramadan, Muslims take more time to give.

Not only is charity among the five pillars of Islam, it is also an important aspect of Ramadan. Muslims often give more during Ramadan than in any other month of the year, whether that be volunteering time or donating money.

“Those who spend (in the cause of Allah) privately

or publicly, by night and day, have their reward with

their Lord. And (on the Day of Resurrection) they

shall neither fear nor grieve.” (Quran 2:274)

4. Not all Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan.

People who are physically or mentally ill, traveling, of old age, pregnant or breast-feeding, and children under the age of puberty do not have to fast if it will negatively affect their health. Out of these categories, those who are able to, should make up the fast at a later date or feed a person in need for each day of fasting they have missed.

“…So whoever among you is ill or on a journey

then an equal number of days (are to be made up).

And upon those who are able (to fast, but with hardship)

a ransom (as substitute) of feeding a poor person (each day)…”

(Quran 2:184)

5. Muslims aren’t looking for pity while they fast.

While you may think the appropriate response to someone fasting is, “I’m sorry, that must be so difficult,” Muslims really don’t want you to pity them. Muslims choose to fast and even though it makes them tired and hungry, the reward is greater than anything anyone could ever imagine.

6. The month ends with a big celebration called Eid-ul-Fitr

Eid-ul-Fitr or “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” is a celebration that marks the end of the month of Ramadan. This holiday is like any other in that it is filled with family and friends, gift giving, and big feasts. On this day, you can wish all you Muslim friends “Eid Mubarak” which essentially means “Happy Eid!”

Thanks, Gig ’em, and Ramadan Kareem!

5 Tips to a Productive Summer

Howdy!

For a college student, summer break is a vital time. You can do so much in the three months you are given away from the campus. Summer is about making memories with friends and having tons of fun, but it also is the perfect time to do things you don’t have the time for during the school year! Here is a list of a few things you can do to make your summer productive and fun:

1. Get a job or an internship

I know, I know. This is the most obvious tip out there, but it is pretty true. Getting an internship or a job over the summer is not only a way to make some extra cash, it’s also a great thing to add to your resume. Companies all around the world look for college students to hire over the summer. Start looking for internships relating to your major/field of interest as early as the November before. Big companies such as Southwest Airlines and Chase Bank start hiring for the summer very early. If you are not looking for an internship but are on the hunt for a job, take a look at local boutiques or chain restaurants.

2. Take some time for yourself

While you’re in college, you don’t have time to take care of yourself very much. You’re constantly studying, reading long textbooks, pulling all-nighters at the library, and eating ramen and pizza. While you’re home for the summer, take the time out to pamper yourself. Take baths, sleep in, shop for fun, and eat well. Do the things you love to do but can’t in the midst of college chaos.

3. Read (for fun)

You don’t have a huge stack of textbooks to read for the next three months so pick up the book you bought a year ago but never had the chance to read. Go to the local public library and browse through all the books in your favorite genre. Discover a new author or read a book in a genre you’ve never read before. Dust off those old Harry Potter (or any other) books from middle/high school and reread your old favorites. You have the time to enjoy what you read without getting a grade for it, so take advantage of the opportunity.

4. Pick up a new hobby

Summer is the ideal time to discover something new about yourself. Find a new passion that you never knew you had. Start the hobby you’ve always wanted to take on but didn’t have the time. Whether that be knitting, gardening, rock climbing, or dancing; pursue your passion, try something new, take on a challenge. This summer, do something you’ll continue even when you get back to campus.

5. Be a tourist in your home town

Even if you’re not going on vacation this summer, you can be a tourist in your own town! There are plenty of really great things to do in every city and as a resident of that city, sometimes you don’t think of your home as a fun place. Visit the local museums, try out the cuisine unique to your town, discover the parks in your neighborhood, and find the perfect café to sit and relax in.

What are some things you do to make your summers productive and fun?

Thanks and Gig ’em!

 

I am “Superwoman”

Howdy!

Lilly Singh

She starts every video with “what up everyone, it’s your girl Superwoman!” and she truly does embody the characteristics of a “super woman”. Lilly Singh is a YouTube sensation known as one of the first female South Asian YouTubers. She was born in Ontario, Canada to a Punjabi Sikh family and attended York University, graduating with a psychology degree. In 2010, Lilly started a YouTube channel, called it “IISuperwomanII” and began making videos to deal with depression. Her videos encompass humor, inspiration, motivation, and relatable content, making them attractive to a wide array of audiences.

Today, Lilly has more than eight million subscribers, has her own feature film called “A Trip to Unicorn Island,” has performed in her own world tour in 27 cities around the world, is on the Forbes 2016 30 under 30 list, and has shot videos with celebrities such as Madhuri Dixit, Selena Gomez, and James Franco. She is her own boss, her own editor, her own writer, and has made her way to the top of YouTube through her own dedication and hard work. Lilly Singh runs her one-woman empire in the digital entertainment industry, and yet she remains humble and down to earth in her videos and interviews.

#GirlLove

Along with her professional success, Lilly Singh has recently created a campaign called #GirlLove that encourages women to call out other women who we think should be praised. Her mission is to encourage women to raise each other up rather than push each other down. The media covers “catfights” between celebrities as breaking news to the point where society has deemed it “cool” to demean other women. Lilly wants to stop the hatred and promote love and motivation all over social media.

What are you waiting for? Go out there and compliment the women in your life whether she is your best friend, your mother, your teacher, your Zumba instructor, or your favorite celebrity! Use the hashtag #GirlLove and stop the hate by spreading love. There are so many inspiring women in the world, but if you need a little help getting started, watch Superwoman’s video about the campaign here.

I would like to end this post by showing some #GirlLove to Lilly Singh. You’re an inspiration to all of us. Keep being the wonderful, positive light that you are!

iiSuperwomanii

Youtube Channel: iiSuperwomanii

Instagram: @iisuperwomanii

Twitter: @iisuperwomanii

Thanks and Gig ‘em!

#IAmGirlRising

Howdy!

This blogpost is dedicated to a movement that is extremely close to my heart: Girl Rising. Girl Rising is a global campaign for girls’ education. Their mission is to change the way the world values the girl through the power of storytelling. To do this, they’ve created a wonderful documentary with the Academy Award-nominated director, Richard E. Robbins.

The Film

The Girl Rising film tells the stories of nine ordinary girls from around the world who confront and overcome tremendous challenges to pursue their dreams. This movement unites girls, women, boys and men who believe that every girl has the right to go to school and the right to reach her full potential.

Watch the trailer here: Girl Rising Trailer

How did I get involved?

My junior year of high school, I came across the trailer to their documentary and fell in love instantly. I knew that I wanted to be a part of this phenomenal movement, but I couldn’t figure out how to get involved on my own. Later that year, my friend started a human rights awareness organization at our school and asked me to join. She wanted to kick-off the organization with a big project and asked each of us to come up with ideas for what that project could be. This was my chance to host a screening of Girl Rising with the help of my peers. I pitched the idea to my group and seconds into the trailer, the entire room was on board.

After several months of raising funds, promoting the event at our school and even at local restaurants, and selling tickets wherever we could, we were finally ready to show the film. As a high school student, I did not think that I would be able to actually make an impact on a global issue such as girls’ education; however, this one event proved to me that I could make a difference. We had an audience of three hundred people and had raised over $2,400 for the Girl Rising movement.

Girl Rising helped me realize that my age does not matter and as long as I have the passion for helping others, I can make a difference in the world.

Becoming an Ambassador

During the first semester of my freshman year at Texas A&M, I decided to apply to the Girl Rising Regional Ambassador program. Their ambassador program brings passionate individuals from all around the world together to play a role in their communities for the global movement for girls’ education.

After getting accepted into the program, I decided to bring Girl Rising to the Texas A&M campus. I met people who were just as passionate as I am, created a team of amazing and hard-working individuals, and set a date for a film screening. My team and I are now one week away from our film screening and we are beyond excited about bringing Girl Rising to Texas!

How can you get involved?

To learn more about the movement, visit girlrising.com

If you would like to host a film screening in your local community, visit Host a Screening

To donate to the movement, visit Donate Now!

To join the conversation, use the hashtag #IAmGirlRising

Twitter: @girlrising

Instagram: @girlrisingofficial

Facebook: Girl Rising Facebook

 

Thanks and Gig ’em!

 

 

Welcome!

Howdy!

My name is Isra Merchant and I am a full-time student at Texas A&M University. Ever since I was a child, my father would tell me that my goals in life should be based off of the idea that I am educating myself to educate others. My passion for helping others grew from the seedlings of dreams my dad had planted for me and before I knew it, those dreams became my own.

In my lifetime, I hope and intend to make an impact in providing girls all over the world with access to education and to empower them to become leaders in their societies. Today, I am a regional ambassador for the international Girl Rising movement (more on that later) and I am in the process of starting a human rights organization on my university campus. This blog will not only keep record of the projects I am involved with, but will also serve to raise awareness about the issues that I am so passionate about and the lessons I have learned throughout my time in college and afterwards, through my time in the workforce.

What is I Am Woman?

I am Woman is an initiative that will prove to the world that women are strong, forceful creatures that can impact society at a global scale. The purpose of I am Woman is to encourage girls and women everywhere to speak out for causes they are passionate about, to be the voices for those who cannot speak out, and to make a difference not just locally, but globally.

I am Woman will provide a channel for activists around the world to share their stories. How have you made an impact on your community? What have you done to support your cause(s)? If you would like to share your triumphs with our blogging community, you can send your stories to iamwomanstories@gmail.com to be featured on this blog!

Welcome to I am Woman, Watch me Soar!