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Ah, Spring – when trees lose their wintery decay, frat boys lose their already nearly nonexistent chill and I lose all three of my functioning brain cells.

After viewing Jia Jung’s Ted talk “What I learned from 100 days of rejection” a couple months ago, I decided to try something a little different one week with this column.

Over spring break, I very boldly and very publicly invited readers across my social media to submit challenges they’d like to see me do. I told you all that I would select a couple of the craziest, announce them in this week’s column and then write about my experiences doing them in a future column. I even opened up a pathway for anonymous questions for the sake of anyone too embarrassed to ask publicly, and – just to keep things interesting – borrowed one of Jung’s challenges.

As far as quantity goes, you guys certainly didn’t disappoint and though there were many I immediately crossed off – eat a fish eyeball? What’s wrong with you? – I managed to compile a pretty diverse, pretty terrifying list.

Here’s what I’ve chosen and why, along with how I’ll go about completing it.

1. Run a 5k

Theoretically, I like the thought of running. Realistically, I don’t run unless something is chasing me, and nothing has ever been interested enough. (This is why tagging me in photos of the new Nike hijab was utterly pointless, by the way.)

Lack of athletic ability and necessary lung capacity aside, I’ve always wanted to be a runner. I want to be able to snottily brag about running. I want to be able to sleep in in the mornings and then run to class.

Obviously, there’s no way I, as a person who occasionally walks quickly, can be expected to run a 5K next week, or even by the end of the month. So I’m going to start training now instead, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Also, I will have two accountability partners to make sure I finish the challenge before the end of the semester.

2. Kiss a goat

This is one that comes with some stipulations. If, by some miraculous turn of fate, I happen upon a friendly goat desirous of human contact, I’ll complete the challenge. But “friendly goat” is a bit of an oxymoron, and I really don’t want to be that person at the petting zoo.

Please don’t make me that person at the petting zoo.

3. Spend five days eating nothing but Taco Bell

This is one I was actually a little excited to receive. Who doesn’t love Taco Bell? Then again, the thought of eating imitation Mexican for breakfast, lunch and dinner five days straight does give me some pause.

Also, I’m not sure what the results of mixing 5K training with a strictly Taco Bell diet could be, but I imagine they’re not pleasant.

4. Spend 24 hours on the Water Diet

Speaking of things that don’t mix well, I’ve also been challenged to 24 hours consuming nothing but water. Ambulance and mozzarella sticks on standby, please.

5. Take selfies with five strangers

This one gives me the most anxiety. Do you know what most people think when a slightly-crazed looking hijabi approaches them and asks for a picture? Me neither, but I’m sure we’ll all find out very soon.

6. Imitate a work of art like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

I can’t wait to try this because I love art and being creative, and I want to be creative all around. But I’ve never been as tolerable in drawing and painting as I am in writing. This gives me a good excuse to try again. (It won’t be pretty, but tell me it’s pretty, please.)

7. Make a contouring tutorial

Speaking of (terrible) works of art, I’ve been challenged to “attempt to contour” my face and post a video doing it. The funny (read: depressing) thing about this is that I contour my face pretty much every day, and apparently no one has even noticed. Why do you want a makeup tutorial from me, again? (Tell me I’m pretty, please.)

8. Wear no makeup for two days

Initially, I was horrified to attempt this challenge but what’s the point? No one notices my makeup anyway. (Yes, I’m salty, and yes, I’m going to be bringing it up at every opportunity possible for the rest of my life)

9. Do the “Ice Bucket Challenge”

I didn’t do this when it was popular. I didn’t see the point. If you want to support a cause or fight a disease, dumping a bucket of water on your head to avoid donating doesn’t work quite as well as – well, actually donating.

However, in the spirit of the challenge itself, I’m going to do it.

10. Ask strangers to rate my look (from Jung)

This will, no doubt, be the most cringeworthy experience of my life, but I’m interested to see how people will respond. (Although I’m sure the initial reaction will be fear – see #5.)


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