Last Friday, Professor Joe Thompson gave me incredible advice.
He’s my U.S. History professor. I was in his office going over a few quizzes before the final this Wednesday.
Thompson is a funny guy, he likes to crack jokes, and all around is a great person. I love, love his class because he teaches in a way that makes you feel like you’re learning about life and people, not events and dates.
Now of course, with all the political drama surrounding the election, Thompson always has a thing or two to say about the Republican front-runners. As an American-Muslim, Donald Trump’s poll percentages scare the bejeezus out of me. I honestly don’t understand how people, not only like this guy, but want him to run this country?! It really boggles my mind.
After I was finished going over the quizzes and stood up to leave, Thompson remarked that I was a great student and very bright. I responded saying: “It’s funny you always say that, but I mean, I have to be. Who’s gonna wanna hire this?” I asked, gesturing to my headscarf (hijab) tied around my head.
Thompson’s response surprised me. He sat me down again, looked me in the eye, and told me I was beautiful. He told me to have faith, to have hope, and not to worry. He told me to wear my hijab with pride and not to listen to the loud ones with the microphones who want to tear me down. He told me he’d hire me in a heartbeat.
The best part is I believed him. I decided I won’t settle, I won’t back down, I will have faith, and I will be optimistic. My success will combat Donald Trump and the likes of him.
For some reason I needed this push. I wasn’t necessarily down about the racist rhetoric towards Muslims happening in the media, but by the end of the week, it all just crashed and my brain couldn’t take it.
Two hours later, I was home checking my email, and I sat stunned. Thompson sent me an email with the subject “Smile” and he reiterated his advice to me: “Your future is so much brighter than those who denigrate your faith. My advice to you is hold your head high, express your faith with pride, and live well. And smile -JT”
I read the email over and over and over shocked really that someone cares. I realized that Thompson’s advice wasn’t profoundly amazing: I had heard Muslim speakers say more or less the same thing, but the fact that Thompson isn’t Muslim and still cares made a difference with me. You could say his advice trumped them all (see what I did there 😉).
Hang in there everyone.
Verily, with every hardship comes ease! [Quran 94:6]