Year 2: Semester 2 Week 11

Hey all,

I just attended the TEDxNYUAD event, where NYUAD students and faculty can sign up to give TED talks. I'm super proud of one of my friends who spoke- she suffered a concussion in a bicycle accident last year and has been dealing with the long-term effects of Post-Concussion Syndrome, and she gave a really brave and personal talk about mental health and invisible injuries. While NYUAD does a lot to address mental health, it's still a very stigmatized and misunderstood topic in the region (and in the world in general). I'm so proud of her for standing up against countless obstacles and having the courage to share her story. All of the speakers did well and I'm really inspired by their messages. I have to say, 3 hours straight of listening to TED talks is kind of a lot though- my head is spinning thinking about world issues and life and self-improvement and all that.

This weekend also included one of the biggest annual events at NYUAD- the Pakistani Mock Wedding, hosted by NYUAD's Pakistan Student Association. Two students volunteer as the "bride" and "groom" and they reenact South Asian wedding traditions. There are group dances to popular Bollywood songs, music performances, biryani and kebabs, etc. A lot of the students dress up in traditional clothes and borrow from friends if they don't have any. I have a lot of videos of the dancing but, sadly, I didn't get very high-quality photos this time because my phone camera doesn't work well in dim lighting and I mostly wanted to enjoy the event. I wore one of my kurtas from Mumbai, yellow with gold sparkly patterns. At the end of the performances, everyone was invited to the front for more dancing. It was one of my favorite memories from freshman year, so I'm glad I got to go again. So much fun!


Introducing the "bride" (under the canopy held by bridesmaids) to the "groom"
Students line up to feed sweets to the bride and groom

I'm also planning to take a position as next year's Director of Curriculum Development for an organization called College Admissions Mentors for Africa (CAMA), which provides peer mentorship to high school students from around the African continent who are applying to U.S. universities. While it's a fairly small organization now, I was a peer mentor last year and really enjoyed the experience. Right now, it's being run by NYUAD students, although it's not affiliated with NYUAD itself. I met with the previous executive board and the new executive board this week, and there are a lot of really exciting ideas for the upcoming admissions season as the new leadership team takes over. It was so inspiring to meet with this group of people committed to education. Follow us on Facebook and at the CAMA blog!
A few members of the CAMA team <3
I also spent a good portion of the afternoon working on the solar power project-- we've been building a prototype for a solar water pump system that is controlled by sensors to shut the water flow on/off, so that's good. Lots of schoolwork keeping me busy as well.

Anyway, that's all for now. 

Goodnight from Saadiyat Island,