I sometimes feel like I think way too much. I need to stop.
Now some people might say: What a silly conclusion! Why Hira, you spend way too much time thinking about the most useless things in the world! And that, my friends, is something that hits way too close to home.
But really, you might not want to jump into my head to see what bizarre thoughts I come up with. Some people like to think about the mundane things in life: what do I need to get for today’s groceries, where are my keys, did I do my homework? And that’s fine. Some people like to think about the deepest thoughts in the dead of night: What is life? Why do humans have opposable thumbs? Are aliens real? How come everyone except for me has a job? That’s also fine.
Now me: I like to think about the many ways you can die. Specifically at Rutgers. And then post them online for Rutgers students to see.
This is slightly less fine.
These are the fruits of my wacky (read: psycho) contemplations that will leave you forever hanging in a perpetual limbo of anxiety and panic. Because nowhere is safe, I present to you, Dumb Ways to Die: the Rutgers Edition.

1. Eating at Brower. I know, it’s an overused joke that only freshmen make nowadays in order to look funny in front of everyone, but I’m gonna expand on that and tell you that all of the Rutgers dining halls give the same result, whether it’s Livingston or Brower. It’s just a matter of time before your body begins to reject such disgrace and calling it “food.” For those of you who live on-campus, I understand that this cannot be avoided.
It was nice knowing you.

DWtD #1 - dining hall

2. A giant, conflagration on the bus. All those disconcerting sounds coming from the engine feel like the bus is going to come crumbling down into a big, fiery mess. I’m just waiting for the time that all those students that pile into an already cramped bus are gonna make it break down at some point, which will cause the students to get so angry that they’re late for class for the umpteenth time this semester and generate one huge, collective brain meltdown–
You can tell I’ve had this experience.

DWtD #2 - bus fire

3. Alhamdulillah, hallelujah, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You find one of them fancy single-person unisex bathrooms and a feeling of immense worriment lifts from your shoulders as you tentatively open the door. This is the first time you get to do Wudu in peace ever since that embarrassing little situation not too long ago when you got caught by some poor bewildered individual with your foot in the sink, thinking you could put your sneaky-ninja abilities to use and failing miserably. You thought you would’ve died of embarrassment.
Well, thankfully you didn’t… until you slip on that puddle someone else made before you had come in, who had the same idea in the same bathroom while they were doing Wudu. Wudu-ception.

DWtD #3 - wuduception

4. It’s finals week, so you have all five of your notebooks open in front of you from that one class that’s practically only consists of huge graphs and diagrams (curse you, math). You pick up this paper, then that paper then back to the first paper, your eyes go cross-eyed, and the next thing you know you have paper cuts all over your body and are now bleeding out onto the floor. Studying = death. So don’t study.
Or switch to a laptop.

DWtD #4 - paper cuts

5. We’re all college students: up to date with the latest technology, social media, the works. Therefore, we are practically fused to the Internet and, in turn, our devices that provide that link to us. Our devices, like our laptops, phones and tablets that earn the ire and irk of mothers and fathers aplenty, are necessary in our day to day lives, whether it’s for school or recreation or anything in between.
You know, I’m not going to be that surprised when my eyes start to dry and shrivel up after extensive and consistent use of my laptop screen that’s been radiating fluorescent light at me for a majority of my day, every day. If my eyeballs pop out, that’s simply going to be a natural effect of my unhealthy screen-viewing habits.
My mom thinks that’s how I’ll go.

DWtD #5 - tech killing eyes

Okay, so these scenes are getting a little bit ridiculous. But the main thing that I want to be delivered here, through horribly-executed deadpan humor and silly sketches done at two AM in the morning (hey, they were funny at the time), is that we have no idea when we will leave this world to be reunited with Allah.
The prospect that death is just around the corner may come as an unwanted scare to us, but it can also fill us with a sense of determination, if we choose to. Just changing our mindset, our outlook on certain things can give us that boost of inspiration, that energy to get those minds in overdrive. Because if we put things off to tomorrow, if we let laziness take over, if we decide to pass up on that opportunity…
Who knows? Maybe one of these things may get you in the end.

Hira Shahbaz

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