You will face many questions as you venture into the college world: What is it like to live with a non-Muslim roommate? Can I eat halal in the college dining hall? Where can I pray on campus? How can I fast Ramadan with my demanding class schedule? What should I do if I'm tempted to drink? How can I avoid awkward encounters with guys/girls? Will I spend Eid alone?
There are people who can help guide you in your new environment, connect you with new groups of friends, and provide Islamic grounding in the midst of university life.
- Muslim Students Association (MSA) of North America: Founded in 1963, this network of student organizations is active on many college and university campuses. They provide fellowship, congregational prayers, social activities, and opportunities for humanitarian or educational work. You can search their website to find out if there is an affiliate group at your university of interest.
- University Student Affairs Office: If no MSA listing is found, don't give up -- sometimes there are Muslim student organizations which are not registered with the head office, or do not have up-to-date contact information. The best way to find out what support is available on your campus is to get in touch with your school's Student Affairs office. Check your university's website for their contact page.
- Local Mosques: Many cities and university towns have at least one mosque. You may need to visit several different ones to determine where you feel most comfortable.
- Family: Whether your family is nearby or far away, keep in touch regularly and keep them involved in your day-to-day lives. They have been your support system up to now, know you well, and may have faced similar situations and issues. Don't be afraid to share with them your questions and experiences.