Willow Earle: High School Life From the Muslim Perspective

  “Islam focuses on holding love and respect for all, and I live by this principle,” said high school sophomore Willow Earle — a polyglot, an artist, and an aspiring neurosurgeon from a Muslim background.

 Earle believes their cultural and religious background has largely shaped their growth. Earle opened the interview by explaining the familial roots behind their unique perspective to life.

  “My mom grew up in Saudi Arabia and is an immigrant from here [and] my dad is Pakistani,” Earle shared. “My dad’s father, my grandpa, came from Pakistan after the partition, whereas my grandma already lived in where is now known as Pakistan before the partition.”

 Growing up in this familial environment, Earle is a polyglot fluent in Urdu, Hindi and English at the mere age of 15. Additionally, aiming to deepen their faith and spiritual growth, Earle is learning Arabic to improve their understanding of the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book that is originally written in Arabic. 

 “I am currently learning Arabic through online classes so I can read the Qur’an in its most original form and understand it better,” Earle said.

 Moreover, setting their vision beyond borders and seas, Earle also began learning Spanish four years ago in preparation for future travels.

  “I wanted to learn Spanish because I love traveling. To learn Spanish, I take classes at school and talk with friends [who are fluent in Spanish] to practice,” Earle  “My old friends taught me a lot. But since my dad is also learning Spanish, now I also practice with my dad.”

  Other than exploring their love for diverse languages and cultures, Earle is also an artist and musician: running an Instagram art account and practicing guitar in their free time to express their creativity. Here, Earle shares a few of their proudest works.

An artwork done by Willow Earle during quarantine.
A recent practice sketch by Earle.

Outside of extracurricular passions and pursuits, Earle also does not fall shy in academics. As a future neurosurgeon, Earle excels in school despite taking on a challenging honors course load. To this, Earle provides insight to her study routine and secret to success.

 “[In the morning], I wake up around four or five o’clock depending on if I need to study for a test later in the day.” Earle described. “My schedule usually consists of finishing homework as soon as I get home and trying to squeeze in an [art] sketch before a study session. Then at the end of the day, I usually try to read at least 25 pages a day.”

With impressive discipline to keep up with this productive routine, Earle explains that their motivation comes from the goal to further their studies in neuroscience at Columbia University after high school. Furthermore, Earle also hopes to use their knowledge to stand on a greater world stage someday, providing representation to those of similar background and clarifying common misconceptions about the muslim community.

“A common misconception about the Muslim community is that we hold hatred for people [outside of our community]. [However], one of Islam’s main focuses is actually to have love for everyone.” Earle suggested. “One example is that some people think that all Muslims are against the LGBTQ+ community and queerness — this is not the case at all! While there are Muslims who try to excuse homophobia with Islam, most Muslims thrive to love and respect everyone, regardless of their lifestyle.”

Lastly, concluding the interview with a message to Wilson students, Earle comments on Minecraft sheeps.

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