Illustration by David Guerrero / Times staff
California native, Salma Ahmed is a full time student who is passionate about her religion and work ethic.
During the pandemic, Ahmed said she has found it to be very different celebrating Ramadan while working hard to get through the semester.
“The pandemic made my Ramadan an isolated one, I lost my family last year so everything seems more quiet next door,” Ahmed said.
Keeping her focus and motivation has been a struggle this past year with the pandemic negatively affecting her mental health, she said.
“My passion for my career path keeps me motivated to stay on track, I know my hardwork will pay off, with my large family my hardwork and dedication will help me be a better role model to my younger siblings, that also keeps me inspired,” she said.
Ahmed is currently a biology major, hoping to transfer to San Jose State University next year.
Ramadan being a tradition for the religion of Islam is celebrated every year for 30 days once a year, it is celebrated by over 1 billion practicing Muslims all over the world.
Ahmed said that fasting and maintaining all her coursework is a challenge that is rewarding in the end. She said she feels like she has her religion on her side because of how special Ramadan is, making her focus on the important things in her life.
She said that the pandemic has not changed much of her traditions for Ramadan besides not traveling or getting out as much as she used to, but the lack of mobility has made her stay constant and concentrated on her school work.
“She’s very strong-willed and a hard worker. I don’t think I’d be able to fast all day and attend my lectures and then finish my day with homework for a month long. That’s dedication for sure,” former classmate and friend of Ahmed’s, Emily Hayes said.
Ahmed has a full schedule of school. She said that in her free time, she likes to play video games and binge her favorite shows, but only after her homework and notes are done.
“It’s kind of amazing how she’s capable of doing all her work and receiving good grades, she is a good role model for me and our younger sisters,” her younger sister, Hana Ahmed said.
Her sister said that she is an inspiration to the family, she spends a lot of time on school work and helps her younger sisters with their homework when needed.
Now that Ramadan is over, Ahmed said that she wants to finish the semester strong.
“One piece of advice I can give to fellow Muslim students is to use Ramadan to connect with the spiritual side of you to relieve some stress caused by school, it’s the perfect time to do so,” Ahmed said.