Embracing Change

I was chatting with a few friends on Sunday, some of whom were transitioning from the role of a full-time student to that of a full-time employee. A theme emerged from our discussions, namely that of the differences in obligations between studying and working, specifically in the realm of 'free time' that most universities do not afford to their students! :) One friend in particular mentioned that the transition has been challenging, and that as a student, her time was predictable and quite full, whereas with work, there's the 'after 5pm and before bedtime' period that is a new concept!! Her concerns took me back to my transition from school-to-work in January 2007. I thought I would try and offer some suggestions to remediate the 'full-time job' angst! Here goes!!

1. Embrace the transition to full-time work!
How many times in our lives have we heard that change is positive, and that we should embrace what comes our way! Admit it, after trudging through the dark and shady halls at your university, you're READY to see the light at the end of tunnel! While it can be daunting to leave behind a life of formal schooling which you've been living for over a decade, look forward to the challenges and rewards that comes with being a productive and contributing member of society! If you're STILL not convinced, think about the Prophet's (PBUH) beloved wife Khadijah (RA) and the strong, mature, and wise businesswoman she was! :)

2. As with schooling, full-time work requires balance!
As a student, your life was either very balanced (and if so, kudos to you!) or unbalanced (you were a self-confessed studyholic!). And if you're lucky, then perhaps somewhere in the middle! The learning curve that could come with a new job may take up quite a lot of your time and energy. My first year as a therapist, I worked over my required hours quite a lot as I tried to find a time management strategy that would assist me in juggling my 10 or so odd schools I worked at! If you're having a hard time planning and visualizing you schedule, use a 24-hour wheel to create an outline of (a) what your day currently looks like; and (b) what you IDEAL day would look like! If you're not sure about leisure specifics, just use the word 'leisure' until you figure it out :) Make sure to include the time you spend on self-care too!

3. Take time to develop your strengths and passions!
I have to thank Mina for this idea, as her idea to focus on self-development is a brainwave! Think back to the hectic-ness of formal schooling and ask yourself if you really had the time to focus on your own development, both spiritually and character-wise. There are inevitable challenges that come with work (including getting along with your colleagues, among other concerns!), so use the challenges you're facing as a means to develop your own personal development goals (i.e. PD!). I'm currently reading 'Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba' by Heba Alshareef, among other books, and I am trying to brush up on French and Arabic for my upcoming trip to Morocco. And no, you don't need to book an international trip to learn a new language either! If that tickles your fancy, then go for it Sister! :)

4. If you're stuck in terms of finding what your interests are...
Each of us have our own set of activities and interests that we enjoy. Mine include strength training, running, reading, blogging, snowshoeing, biking, etc etc etc. Knowing myself and my need to burn some of my energy up and get thoughts running through my head OUT of my head, are the two reasons why I engage in the activities that I do. Perhaps ask yourself, 'Do I enjoy more sedentary activities, or those that require me to be active? Do I enjoy these activities in the company of other people, or do I need solitary confinement?!' (OK, that is a little extreme, but you see where I'm going, right?!) :) I recently tried pottery painting and loved it! In the past, I've done white water rafting and indoor wall climbing (pre-hijab days haha!). If you're scrambling for ideas, try Googling 'interest checklists for adults', as there are numerous tools out there that may help you find the perfect match! :)

It did take me a while to figure out how to balance my life after starting a full-time job, but it was solely a matter of trial and error. Some weeks will be better than others, and oh yes, definitely try to include exercise into your routine! Because unless you're like me and like to chase kids down school hallways (where security cameras are hidden in the ceiling!), you're going to want to get offa that thang! 


  1. Those tips are DEFINITELY AWESOME!!

  2. Thanks Mina, you've more than once inspired me!!! :)


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