XASS: We’ll start with the basics. What year are you? What’s your major? Where are you from?
Faa: My major is mathematical and computational sciences. This is just a fancy way of saying it’s a mix of CS and math. I’m from Brooklyn, New York.
XASS: All right, so being from Brooklyn, why Stanford? The east coast schools are so much closer.
Faa: So there’s a number of points in which I decided I wanted to go to Stanford. One was when I was a kid I saw the Stanford prison experiments and then I was like, “Oh this is a cool place, this is where stuff happens.” And so I told my mom that I wanted to go to Stanford. She asked me where it was and I said California and she told me I couldn’t go because it was too far.
Another reason is I just wanted to get as far away from my parents possible, but I applied here on a whim. I didn’t expect to get in because I felt like my SAT scores were a bit too low. So yeah, I got lucky I got in.
XASS: Awesome to have you here, man. So what about math and computational sciences appeals to you?
Faa: Well, I like a mixture of a lot of different areas of mathematics, but computer science as a whole has always been my primary focus. So the major emphasizes computer science, but I take courses in statistics as well as pure math and theory and lots of different things.
XASS: What are your hobbies outside of academic stuff? Like what do you do for fun?
Faa: I watch a ridiculous amount of anime.
XASS: Okay. Top series?
Faa: Code Geass has to be up there. The Promised Neverland was pretty good.
XASS: So good.
Faa: Yeah. Boku no Hero Academia or My Hero Academy is a pretty good show.
Faa: I read a lot of manga as well. So yeah, that’s primary what I’d spend my
time doing. Other than that, I spend time with my girlfriend. That’s pretty much it.
XASS: Well that leads to the classic Chi Alpha question: are you in a relationship?
Faa: I am in a relationship with this girl named Myriam. She’s also in Chi Alpha.
XASS: Sweet! How’d that happen?
Faa: How did that happen? So I liked this girl for a very, very, very long time. I think somewhere longer than six months, but at the time I was Muslim and I didn’t think that I should be dating someone who isn’t of the same religion as me.
And then as I explored religion more as a whole, I got into the limbo period in which I wasn’t a Muslim, but I wasn’t a Christian as well. And I still didn’t think it was responsible for me to date somebody who wasn’t of the same religion as me. My personal reasons are primarily because the probability that your kids become atheist is a lot higher. That’s not what I want. And so I became a Christian eventually and a week later I told her that I liked her. And after consultation with my pastor we decided to date “after the summer ended”, but we started dating as soon as her birthday was in the summer. So yeah.
XASS: Okay. Now how did you become a Christian?
Faa: How did I become a Christian? So last year or so I decided that I wanted to explore religion as a whole to understand who God was. I was a Muslim at that time. And so what I did was I read the Quran and I just did as much as I could as a Muslim to try to be more religious. And as I continued to do that I found personal holes in Islam, like things pertaining to the moral center, but also some more philosophical problems. And as I discovered those holes, I started to learn more about Christianity. And as I learned more about Christianity, there were a number of things that stood out to me that were particularly important. One was the idea that I could not be reconciled with God without an intermediary; that is, Jesus.
And the reason why that was so important to me was because I felt that my sole purpose was to be as close to God as possible. And if I as a person was enveloped in sin then how could I be with God who is perfect? And that was one thing that made the lights turn on. There were a number of the things that clicked into place, but ultimately just going to church and having an experience of the Holy Spirit dwelling over me was probably the most important thing with why I became Christian.
XASS: Right. Last question. What advice would you have for someone who’s considering Christianity?
Faa: What advice would I have for someone who’s considering Christianity? Well you should explore it as if your life depends on it. Spend some time figuring out the question that is most important to you. The question that if it is answered, the likelihood of you becoming a Christian is a lot higher. I think that question for me was I wanted to be reconciled with God so that I can be with Him. And finding what that question is for you is the most important thing.
XASS: Faa, thank you for your time!