THE LAST SESSION

Hafsa Malik
8 min readOct 23, 2021

Amal Academy #TakingFlight ✈️ʚɞ#DilKiBaatein❥

Have you ever walked away from a conversation with someone you’d just met thinking, “Wow, this was one of the best interactions I’ve ever had!”? On a regular day, how much talking and how much listening do you do? I mean genuine listening, where you concentrate on what the other person is saying and take it all in, rather than just preparing the next brilliant thing you’ll say as soon as the other person stops speaking? Ponder over that, I’ll get back to it later in the blog.

#Taking Flight, the last day of the fellowship, the last session, and maybe the last time I’ll be able to see some of the faces I was so used to seeing on Saturdays’ and Sundays’ evenings. It kind of became a ritual, at first, it was a sort of responsibility. I decided to join Amal and I was supposed to complete it too. For me, there was no way behind, I only had to go forward and that’s why when the dropouts started getting highlighted, it was sort of surprising.

After the first two sessions, I couldn’t be more excited. I take pride in claiming myself as an avid reader. Readers are proven to be more empathetic and intuitive. They go through emotional teleportation via books. Thus, the courses, so full of life stories, like that of Edhi Sb, Chris Gardener, Kid President and so many more took me on a ride. I started enjoying myself and the sessions soon became a long-awaited encounter.

A memory from our last session

So when it was the time for our last session on Sunday, I didn’t know what to do as we had just given our final Mega Project presentations, which was an adventure on its own, and here we were joining a session to just talk? What was there to talk about? Our session was called “Dil Ki Baatein”, I remember Sir Saim giving this fun fact, and Oh! what a session it was. For the first activity the brave ones stepped up to share their life stories and how one event impacted and tormented their souls, how they stood up after stumbling so many times and how they have moved on. It was galvanizing, inciting, stirring and oh, so moving. Never had our session turned so gloomy. It reminded me of all the struggles I went through and how emotionally alone I felt, yet, I couldn’t bring myself to voice them out; all those clogged up emotions.

The second activity was for us to utilise Padlet to write gratitude notes to each other. Everyone showed their appreciation by penning personal notes to one another. This was a valuable activity since it helped us to value each other in a unique way. Our facilitators, Sir Saim and Ma’am Wajiha received the majority of the notes, and rightly so, as they deserve all of the sincere Thankyous and affection.

For our last activity, we played a virtual game of Scavenger Hunt. One was Sir Saim’s squad and the other Mam Wajiha’s team. To find the object to take a selfie with, we had to solve the riddles. The team with the most selfies was intended to be the winner. I was a member of Sir Saim’s squad, along with Ammar, Aiza, Ambreen, and others. It came down to critical thinking and teamwork. Amal has always advocated for teamwork. “Ek or Ek Gyaara,” one of its core concepts, had us intoned with exceptional teamwork abilities, therefore it wasn’t a surprise when both teams tied with 23 pictures each.

Although the session began with some being emotional and some on the verge of tears, these activities not only helped us relate to one another but also concluded the session on a bittersweet note. One moment we were melancholic and voila, suddenly we were all smiling and laughing again, playing games and just talking. The session ended with everyone singing farewell songs. Our lead vocalist Noor with Umair and Husnain took the stage with occasional choruses. It was sweet and unlike my graduation, this had an apt ending. Was it an end or just a new beginning? I believe it is an ending to a beautiful journey and a start of a new one.

Example of a bad conversation from one of our sessions.

I asked some questions at the beginning. Think about the answer carefully. Are you one of the listeners or the talkers? If you’re like the majority of us, the answer is: not nearly enough. Most people regard conversation as if it were a competitive sport, with the victor being the person who says the most, makes the cleverest point, persuades others of an idea, or simply speaks the longest and loudest. This is a trap that we all fall into. We’re all guilty of interrupting, speechifying, demanding, and coming up with witticisms to promote our point of view or demonstrate our better expertise. How many times have you done it? And how many times have you felt dissuaded and dismayed after someone else did it to you? You see, when you let the words go in from one ear, and then go out from the other, you don’t retain anything. You end up missing something important, like inside information or maybe the fresh material of interesting personal anecdotes and experiences. Conversations are a two-way give-and-take phenomenon. You give information and receive something in return.

Bonding by conversing

Most individuals go through lives wishing they were more heard. So, by listening instead of talking, you are providing something meaningful to the person speaking. Especially if you are truly paying attention to what the other person is saying and not thinking about something else. That gift will be appreciated by the speaker, and you will have developed a bond. He or she will sense that they are acknowledged and validated. It’s a tremendous relationship-building tool, as well as a very effective sales technique. That implies that the next time you speak, you’ll have something new and surprising to say that will command attention and make an impact.

There are numerous occurrences in life that might leave us feeling emotionally drained. We walk around feeling emotionally charged and tense on these occasions. What has happened to us is often unchangeable. Talking results in catharsis, or a sense of release. Our heated sentiments become less charged. Nothing has changed that has caused the misery in our lives, but communicating has relieved some of the anguish. However, when we speak, we hear ourselves express emotions and thoughts that we have not before stated. It is the sensation of hearing oneself that allows us to suddenly think of what to do at times. A solution emerges in our minds. We connect with people on a different level.

“Sometimes the connection is a heart-to-heart, spill-it-all-out talk. But sometimes it’s just a laugh-out-loud e-mail.”

So, you see, emotional connections can develop in an instant or take months to cultivate. Communication becomes relatively simple once relationships are created, regardless of how rapidly they are developed. We were a batch of 70 people en route to find themselves and their strengths, and now we have dropped down to almost 30+ individuals who have successfully completed this journey. We all communicated on a deeper level during the sessions. Sometimes we debate over our perceptions, sometimes we just express our thoughts, and sometimes we just listen to one other and share our feelings. Communication was the key during the fellowship for us to become so well-connected. Eventually, we all made new friends and found people with whom we could express our worries without fear of being judged. Amal, thus, became a safe haven where we could forget all our personal and professional setbacks. So, it is not a surprise that we have plans to stay connected through LinkedIn, WhatsApp and other social media platforms as we found it difficult to depart. We have learned so much from each other. I have learned so much from my fellows and I plan to utilize all of this in my future endeavours. I have learned to just walk on my own path without detours and “Carpe diem”, which means to seize the day with all of my courage and confidence.

These Zen life lessons we learned here, would not only help through our professional but our personal life as well. Amal has prepared us for a better future, to make our ideas a reality. To achieve our SMART goals with resilience and determination. I could use my growth mindset in my future projects, whenever I feel stuck. The life stories can be implemented at my workplace and personal relationships as empathy and other interpersonal skills will help to connect and bond with people. Now we are an army with the best arsenal at their disposal, we are ready to face the world!

All we need is a growth mindset and Amal has helped us recognize our pace to success. All you need is to follow through all those trials to change what and how you want. Sometimes, things might not go the way you thought they would. But that’s okay, stand up, bounce back, shake the negativity off you and dive back right in. You’ll be able to cultivate that mindset of growth you desire over time.

In the end, all the memories, experiences, bonds, and friends I had at Amal Academy will always be close to my heart. It’s always hard to say good-by. So, bidding farewell will not be how I conclude this blog. Rather, I’d want to thank Amal for enabling me to be a member of their family. Thank you, Amal, for giving us such a wonderful chance to meet new people, improve, and succeed in our professional and personal life. Thank you for being so supportive and awesome, B-199. I’ll miss these sessions and our interactions a lot. It’s time to put our knowledge to use and show the world what we’ve learnt.

Let’s Face The World!

Thank You Amal Family

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