Students get engaged in Writing Center

By Mimi Whetstone

Madonna University senior Saniyah Ahmed began her tutoring shift at the Writing Center just like any other Wednesday.

“It wasn’t very busy when I came in, but when it got closer to

my shift, it got really busy,” Ahmed recalled.

Wayne State University senior Mohammad Shahid, on the other hand, had been planning what was about to take place for years.

“I am a very traditional guy and always knew that I would get engaged and married early,” Shahid said. “When Saniyah and I got into our relationship, we both wanted the same things. It was really just a matter of how long it would take for us to get to that point.”

The couple first met on Facebook in December 2006, and began dating in February 2008.

“We were with each other constantly, always hanging out, day and night,” said Shahid. “If we weren't physically with each other, we'd always be talking on the phone or online.”

After two years of courtship, Shahid decided to pop the question in Madonna’s Writing Center.

“Oh, it was so romantic,” said Writing Center coordinator Frances FitzGerald. “Mohommad, his sister, a few friends, another Madonna student and I all plotted to surprise her.”

As Ahmed, a 22-year-old Psychology major, sat assisting students as she has done since July 2009, the plan was put into action.

“In our culture, we have to get our parents’ approval before we go ahead and get engaged,” Shahid said. “Last October, our parents met and approved of us. The date for our official engagement ceremony was to be on April 3, 2010, so I knew I had to give her the most romantic public proposal in due time.”

Despite an official date in place, the future bride-to-be remained in the dark about the proposal.

“I had no idea he was planning to do anything. I would have never guessed,” Ahmed said. “I was more shocked than surprised by the time and place Mohammad picked!”

After a few minutes of business as usual, Fitzgerald coyly asked Ahmed to assist another student, an accomplice named Denny Bowman, with a paper and PowerPoint presentation.

“When I looked at the paper, the title was ‘Love Story,’” Ahmed said. “As I was reading, I noticed how much the love story resembled my story. Being extremely slow, I didn't even think that Mohammad would have written it. It never crossed my mind. I was extremely happy after I read the paper, and I even asked the student to give me a copy so I could show Mohammad.”

As Ahmed read, everything, including her excitement, was going according to plan.

“I heard her say from the other room ‘That sounds just like us. Can I make a copy of this story to show my soon-to-be fiance?’” Sahid said. “I knew this was enough to get things going. She was excited but not yet able to figure it what was really going on.”

After reading the story, Bowman asked Ahmed to take a look at its accompanying PowerPoint, filled with pictures taken throughout the couple’s time together.

“Honestly, I felt like the student was a stalker and got all my pictures somehow,” Ahmed laughed. “I didn't even get a chance to look through the whole PowerPoint because my heart was racing and I wanted to run away from him. When I turned around, Frances was right behind me with her arms crossed. She was smiling.”

Once the couple finally locked eyes and after moving closer together, Shahid got down on one knee and asked Ahmed to marry him.

“She was so excited that she didn't even bother saying yes,” Shahid said. “Instead, she put the ring on with such hurry and excitement. Obviously, I took that as a yes!”

Thankfully, Shahid had guessed his fiance’s response correctly.

“I was so happy that I had happy tears coming out of my eyes,” Ahmad said. “I didn't even wait for him to put the ring on. I said yes, and put the ring on myself. I was shocked, surprised, and content. I just couldn't believe it. When I looked up, Mohammad's sister and two of my other friends were there, too. I still can't believe he decided to ask me to marry him in the Writing Center, but I'm so happy he did.”

Shahid agreed.

“The Writing Center was the perfect place,” Shahid said. “She is working there most of the time during the week. As my thoughts for possible proposal ideas were coming, that seemed to be the most unexpected and original way to do it, and she would be around the people she is with most of the time.”

After more than two years of dating, an approval from both sets of parents and a surprise engagement, both students couldn’t be happier with everything.

“Mohammad is my best friend, my fiance, and will be the father of my children,” Ahmed said. “I'm trying not to be conceited, but our love makes heads turn.”

While an official wedding date has not been set, the couple is shooting around December 2011, or February 2012.

“God has truly blessed our relationship,” Shahid said. “As we say, our love was made in heaven.”

Photo credit: Jeri Dolch