Mini Muslimat: Albanian-American High Schooler Addresses Transferring Schools & Cafes

Here is the latest edition of Mini Muslimat, a Q&A series where young Muslim girls are interviewed to share some insight on their current lives and future aspirations.

These youth are the future generations of Muslim women who will continue our legacy and share our title. We want to empower them by sharing their goals and spreading their stories to help them network and make connections through this platform. In this installment, high school junior, Nesibe Musa, talks about her school experience and career goals.

Tell us a bit about yourself: 

My name is Nesibe Musa, and I am an Albanian-American Muslim hijabi. I grew up in an immigrant household with four older siblings and one younger, which can be pretty chaotic and very exciting. I was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. Throughout most of my childhood, my family and I have been moving to different states and even countries. It’s safe to say that I have encountered various societies throughout my short lifetime. 

Describe your high school experience so far: 

I started high school in the Susan E. Wagner High School, a public school in Staten Island. I spent my elementary and middle school years in private Islamic schools in America and Macedonia. Public school was a shock to me because I was not used to being surrounded by a vast amount of students from different religions and ethnicities. Yet despite the uncertainty I had initially, I found myself adapting to the new environment. If public school taught me anything, it is that no matter what your background was, it is your character that mattered most. After two years in Susan E. Wagner, I transferred back to my old private school, Miraj Islamic School, also in the same borough. My old friends questioned my return, but it was due to the comfort and familiarity I felt in this Islamic school. A place where everyone was like family, unified by our religion and faith. 

What are some of your goals and aspirations? 

One of my long-term goals or dreams is opening a cafe and bakery with my older sister. We both have always shared a passion for baking and making different forms of coffee. I always thought that having a Muslim-owned cafe and bakery on Staten Island would bring more awareness and representation to our Muslim community. Growing up, I had a hard time finding people to connect with, and I aspire to create a space where girls who might feel this way could seek refuge and perhaps find friendship and meaningful connections within. I like to utilize my social media platforms like Instagram to spread positivity. I also post the baked goods my sister and I have made. We like to use the hashtag “Musa Made” (our last name) when posting our treats. Who knows, maybe one day we will find it written on a storefront. Until then, I want to keep working on my culinary skills as I continue high school and college education, which I am still undecided about in terms of majors and careers. 

Any advice to other young Muslim or Non-Muslim girls your age?

Never change yourself for the sake of others or to fit into society’s standards, and always try to keep a strong character.

Photo credit: Candid photo of Nesibe Musa smiling. Photo provided by Nesibe Musa.