“The most wondrous week of the semester”: One IAW volunteer’s story

By Riad Mawlawi

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Riad Mawlawi is a third-year accounting student at Carleton.

In the fall semester, my friends were applying to be volunteers for Islam Awareness Week. That is when I knew I had to join. I applied with joy and confidence, not knowing that the journey would in fact be a long journey. I wanted to work in a team not just because I would like to learn about my religion more, but also to make more friends and have more brothers and sisters. The two-month training process started in mid January and the actual event took place in mid March. In those two months, I have learned more about my religion than when I was in high school. I did some research by reading a portion of the Qur’an and reading many hadiths (narrations of the Prophet). I attended weekly lectures and workshops to ensure my impact was helpful, plus I kind of wanted the free pizza given at the end of each session. I also learned how to work in a team. It increased my group work skills and communication skills.

There were definitely rough times. I was a full-time student; I took five courses. Finding the time to do some research was inconvenient due to the pressure from my concentration courses. Nonetheless, time management was a huge factor. I was about to quit IAW because I wanted to concentrate on my courses. However, I am glad I didn’t. My time management skills have increased significantly. I can work better under stress now as opposed to a few months ago. Other key factors to my journey in IAW are the booth leaders and IAW coordinators. They made sure it was a safe environment. I was not knowledgeable, which was also one of the reasons I felt like quitting since I did not want to look bad in front of everyone. But there was a quote that I will always live by. It is, “God will never put you in anything you can’t handle.” Nothing was going to get in my way.

I grew up in the United Arab Emirates and most of my family members were there. After I left them to study in Canada, I never felt I’d meet another group of people that made me feel at home. I realized that the CU-MSA was home. The members are like family; they are respectful and kind. They are always there to aid. Coming from the United Arab Emirates, I never expected this kind-heartedness and benevolence that is CU-MSA. I feel as if I am a better person as compared to my late teenage years. The most important thing I learned was to have patience and trust God. There is a very well known quote that emphasizes the importance of patience. It is, “Patience is a virtue.” I am and will always be happy to say that the CU-MSA is family. I highly encourage everyone to volunteer for the most wondrous week of the semester that is IAW.

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