Post graduation blues

The-oh-so proud photograph of me holding my Journalism BA degree has been hung up on the wall for everyone to see… The three years that might have been the best three years of my life have now passed. Now what?

The hustle and bustle; attending lectures, occasionally missing lectures, spontaneous plans with friends, it was all great.  But maybe the transition from university life to real life hit me a bit too hard and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

Being so used to having a schedule gives life structure and structure provides stability. Since we were as young as three years old we’ve been used to structure, going to nursery, school, college and then university. Life after university is like an endless ocean, and with no direction, one could end up feeling very lost.

So many of us lived out for university, from having your own place and enjoying the remarkable freedom while it lasts, coming back home can be very hard. Once we’ve rinsed out Netflix, enjoyed random naps and made the most of our fridge, we eventually need to wake up and reflect on where the hell our life is going!

We naturally hold the perception that after graduating, life will be an easy ride. Most of us were motivated by the mere fact that our degree will be a huge stepping stone towards our dream job, not knowing that the job was more than a long leap away.

Behold the applications!

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So we take to Google, searching and searching for jobs that may seem befitting for our graduate-selves, applying the s*** out of them!

Upon completing around 85 applications (probably more, I’ve lost count),  I came to realise that my degree is only the foundation, that a ‘graduate’ job or internship doesn’t solely depend on one being a graduate, but the experience that you obtain to date, is the actual bulk of the application. And that experience doesn’t include the 36 modules I passed which were tailored for nearly every aspect of journalism, no; experience meant
everything other than that.

Some are lucky enough to secure a job shortly after graduation, some not so soon… The wait can be extremely frustrating resulting in loss of confidence, self-worth and above all the will power to carry on trying.

One may think; Wow, have I just wasted three years of my life? But the answer to that is no, university is an amazing experience, a pivotal part of our journey of self-exploration and if I had the chance I’d do it all over again just for the bants!

I remember asking one of my friends why she chose to pursue a masters straight after her undergrad, her response was “I don’t want to stop being a student, it feels too soon”.

Envisage your goals; one step at a time.

We make the mistake of giving ourselves so much to do and think about, that we end up doing nothing at all! Like I’d wake up with 101 things on my mind but end up ‘utilising’ my time by being a sloth on the sofa watching Friends; even though I’ve seen every episode a ridiculous amount of times.

We should first and foremost define our objectives; each and every person needs to have a purpose in life, an objective that prevents our actions from being barren and meaningless. If there is no reason for what you are doing, nothing will be worthwhile.Image result for to do list

What I find helps, is having a goal of the day instead of trying to achieve everything at once. Write it down if it helps, t-do lists actually work! Be realistic though; instead of having “become a doctor” have something like “complete three job applications”. Never underestimate the joy of being able to accomplish every task on your to-do list!

On top of this having an idea of the ‘bigger picture’ is very important because our daily goals help us to reach the end goal. We can section our plans into long-term and short term plans. Long term plans may include what you want your life to be like in ten years time in terms of religion, health, family, social life, career and prosperity. The short term goals can be broken down into monthly, weekly and daily plans, as you move up the pyramid the fields will gradually narrow as you incorporate more specific details into your life plans

Give yourself a break!

Investing our time and energy into being productive is great but we can easily forget about a very important aspect of our lives, our inner selves. What makes us happy and relaxed?

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I recently read a book by Amira Ayad  called ‘The True Secret’ where she describes this using a beautiful analogy she says, think of yourself as an apple barrel. The apple barrel is only useful if it actually holds any apples, if we keep distributing our apples to our friends, family and into our work, we are left with no apples and feel worthless, to restore our function in life, and we have to replenish our supply of apples.

You have to find the source of your apples. What makes you really relaxed and replenishes your depleted energy? For you it may be reading a book, watching a movie, going out with a friend or simply having some ice cream! Make a list of things that make you happy, and reward yourself with one thing at the end of each week.

We’re in this together

So chin up, you’re not the only one whose facing the post-graduation blues, we’re in this together and it will get better! For now just take it easy, grab every opportunity you get, volunteer, intern, read, discover and explore as you walk into the next chapter of your life!

Browse for a spouse: The online Muslim matrimony industry

 

How is it being a British Muslim looking for a spouse? Well let’s just say it can be a mixture of awkward family-orchestrated matchmaking pursuits, and a frustrating mission to find “the one” in a totally haram-free zone.

Not having the right family contacts or so called “rishta links” (in Asian terms) can be very challenging, and somewhat exasperating for Muslim Britons, and bumping into the love of your life by chance? Well, the chances are quite low.

Many young British Muslims resort to online endeavours which have become the latest alternative in the spouse-finding conquest.

But is because all hope of finding someone in the real world has been lost? Or is it because we live in a world where we are more inclined towards convenience, where we get to be and choose the person who ticks almost all our boxes, or perhaps that online offers us the freedom that the community arguably lacks?

Faraz, 27 joined Muzmatch, a revolutionary Muslim marriage app upon a recommendation by a friend, now he is happily engaged and plans to get married next year.

“An escape from the thought from arranged marriages” was the initial motivation behind him joining Muzmatch. He also found that getting to know someone who is actually serious about marriage is easier online because it is very goal orientated, everyone is on there to eventually get married.

I met the mind behind Muzmatch, Shahzad Younas, the CEO and founder of Muzmatch.

“We diTunesArtworkon’t really have scenarios where a girl and guy would mix, the point of the app was essentially to make that a little bit easier for anyone that is thinking about marriage, here’s a place for them to actually go and find someone”  Shahzad Younas

The app has become hugely popular with over 80,000 sign ups, 900 success stories and users from around 123 countries.

Muzmatch is made for all Muslims worldwide; it can connect to your GPS show you other single Muslims looking to get married who are nearby. You are able to set preferences in terms of age, nationality, and ethnicity and how practicing you wish your spouse to be.

Muzmatch certainly keeps up with time, unlike traditional marriage websites, which have also admitted great success; it allows users to carry on their search wherever they are. With its technically advanced features in unquestionably replicates some of today’s social media features, which is arguably why users prefer this type of platform as it is easy to use and very convenient.

Online platforms expose people to a variety of ethnicities, people are  more exposed to talking to people from diverse backgrounds,the demographic has also shifted which now includes divorcees who can get married through the app. This is definitely a major plus point as interracial marriages and re-marrying has always been a taboo amongst most Muslim communities.

However people can have an online persona, the same way we tend to build an image on social media Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, where we get to be our wanted-selves in a controlled environment. It’s only when you actually talk to or meet the person in real life you find out what they are actually about.

“The worst thing for a girl is coming across a guy who on paper ticks all the boxes, but whilst speaking to him he’s not giving any real serious thought about getting married, even when they want to get married, it’s just some of the basics that people need have more of an idea on” says Shahzad

However online platforms such as Muzmatch have strict safety guidelines to ensure users feel comfortable and protected.

Some may argue that Islamic values are subjective, so how can they possibly be judged on a simple scale of ‘how practising are you’ or ‘how often do you pray?’ To this Shahzad responded that the premise of Muzmatch is for any Muslim who wants to get married or anybody who wants to marry a Muslim.

“We don’t care how religious you are or how much of a ‘Muslim’ you would say you are, within the app we allow you to somehow express it and show some initial compatibility, I know plenty of girls who have said, if someone doesn’t pray at all, I’m not interested” says Shahzad.

Therefore the scales provide a simple foundation on which one can decide whether the person is religiously compatible or shares the same religious values.

Shahzad agrees with me that the problem in general with modern society is that we seem to have endless options for everything and you could argue that online doesn’t help that because when you have too much choice and things too readily available, it can become a problem as you never settle for someone because you think that ‘oh what if there’s someone better’.

But by the same token, he argues that marriage is such an imperative aspect of life that you want to be sure before you get into it.

Although common, many are embarrassed of signing up in fear of being labelled ‘desperate’ or simply paranoid about being noticed by someone they know.Screenshot (47)

Alif and Ain is a new online marriage platform that provides a completely anonymous
service with human matchmakers!

I spoke to the co-founder of the brilliant idea, Omar who told me that it all started on
Instagram. That’s how ‘Alif and Ain’ met. Aaminah, one of the co-founders, whose name begins with the letter ‘Alif’ in Arabic, met Omar, which begins with the letter ‘ain’ in Arabic met on Instagram and shortly got married.

They both realised there was a real crisis in the Muslim community when it came to marriage.

“We looked at all the other Muslim matrimonial sites, we went to events, and there was something that wasn’t right. The marketing wasn’t great, people felt embarrassed and awkward. People had doubts and serious reservations about joining an online service. We wanted to do something new, innovative, to get people married and have an online environment in which people felt comfortable. Thus, Alif and Ain was born.” Omar said.

There are three stages to how Alif and Ain works, after creating a profile you will be sent the profile of a potential spouse which includes their personality details etc chosen for you by human match makers. This will not include their name, photo or video at this stage.

Then if you both like each-other’s anonymous profile, you can request to see each-other’s video and photos. This request will only be accepted if you both show a mutual interest in each-other.

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Omar says the human match-making aspect gives it a more personal touch. “A robot doesn’t have a heart, or feelings, or gut instincts” he explains.

The feature video tells you so much more about someone than a photo, which may just be a lucky shot, often ending in awkward catfish scenarios.

“How much can a thumbnail sized image really tell you about someone? Very little-  The video, which only has to be between 10 – 30 seconds, gives you more of someone’s personality, their demeanour, characteristic, tone of voice etc, it’s bridging the gap between online and reality” says Omar

Alif And Ain aim to change the perspective that online is only for those who fail to find a match in the real world, and say there is no reason why it can’t be your first port of call when you’re looking to get married.

Some prefer the more tradition online websites such as Pure Matrimony which has reached 1500 success stories since its inception in 2010.

pm-logoI spoke to Arfa Saira Iqbal, Head of Pure Matrimony who says the big advantage with Pure Matrimony is that everyone you talk to is serious about their religion.

“You don’t need to waste time working out who is practising and who isn’t! We make people swear and testify by Allah they are telling the truth – and this in itself is a HUGE deterrent for those who want to mess around”.

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Arfa advises users to be clear about what they are looking for, and not to let attraction persuade you to look past someone’s faults or shortcomings. She says you should always keep your Family involved at all times for your own safety, and avoid speaking unnecessarily two people who clearly don’t fit your criteria.

“Finding the spouse is a proactive process – you have to actively be looking and not just sit there doing nothing, hoping the right person will fall out the sky!”

Sana, 24 and Hakim, 23 met on Muzmatch and got married shortly after. Although Sana had embarked on her search for a good couple of years, Hakim describes himself as ‘really lucky’ as he had found Sana after just one week on Muzmatch.

Did they both have an idea of what they wanted before they started their search? No.

“Personally I didn’t think I’d marry someone who wore a headscarf but after getting to know Sana and why she chose to wear it at a later stage in her life, I was happy about it”, says Hakim

Sana says “It’s funny because I showed Hakim an old biodata that I made and he got upset because he hardly matched my criteria. I knew what I wanted and I saw that in Hakim but it’s hard to translate in a bio-data or profile but His character outweighed everything.”

Online has certainly offered Muslims in Britain a solution for the overwhelming challenge of finding a spouse, it has undoubtedly admitted huge success, offering British Muslims a chance to take marriages matters in their own hands, rather than it being an affair which involves the whole family, not to mention the rishta aunties!

Some may even argue it makes it a lot easier for those whose family have a fixed criteria; you are able to alter your preferences accordingly. It all depends on what you’re after, there is an online platform tailored for every kind of Muslim!

But above all if you are embarking on your spouse-finding conquest, online or offline, be patient and remember this is real life. It’s not as simple as a pretty picture of a Muslim couple walking hand in hand peacefully through the gates of Jannah as they ‘complete half of each other’s deen’ It’s a lot more than that, and we sometimes forget that marriage is a lifelong commitment that requires a lot of thought so make sure you know what your signing yourself up for…literally!

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Browse for a spouse: The online Muslim matrimony industry