Coming to the end of this series on Essential Tools for Studying Productively, I wanted to leave you with some general tips to bear in mind during this process:
• Make du’aa for success in your studies and for gaining beneficial knowledge. Make du’aa for guiding you to utilize the knowledge in halaal purposes. Implementing the preceding tips is not sufficient if you do not seek Allah’s Help.
• Purify and renew your intentions everyday. This is good for maintaining determination.
• Keep your brain sharp through mind exercises (such as puzzles, mathematics, or memorization).
• Lead a healthy lifestyle so that you do not fall sick and miss classes. A healthy lifestyle may also contribute to a sharper brain. Therefore, sleep well, have a balanced diet, exercise regularly, drink enough water, etc. Also, avoid spending too much time online as this dulls concentration.
• Keep righteous company. This will ensure that you look up to the right people for inspiration and advice. If you spend too much time with people who are not serious about education and the duties towards Allah and His creation, then you will gradually become like them. However, continue being cordial with them.
• Volunteer/participate in extra-curricular activities to gain experience on team-work, leadership, confidence, etc. Do not consider unpaid jobs futile. These are great for gaining experience. In fact, these activities often help to get jobs quite easily.
• Enjoy the whole process of learning. Remember that education is not just about jobs, grades, certificates and memorizing. It is also about gaining real-life experiences, implementing the knowledge, understanding the concept, and gaining moral lessons. Everyday, you will have a learning experience not only from course lessons, but also from social interactions. You will learn how to adjust to different situations, and how to maintain humility and patience at all times.
• Even a few marks may change your grade drastically. Therefore, do not trivialize exams, assignments, or presentations, which carry fewer marks. Aim to do the best in all of them.
• At the end of every exam, assignment and presentation, remember to check your marks and keep a record of them. Examine your scripts after they have been checked and returned to you. Teachers are humans and they may make mistakes in counting/distributing marks. Moreover, if you have any questions, you may clarify them with the teacher.
• Do not forget your teachers after you have finished the courses. Instead, thank them for their contribution and give them gifts.
• Read books and carry out research during your spare time. This will build up your knowledge and hence, help in your studies.
• Always dream big. Aim for the highest grade, so that even if you do not achieve that, you will still be better than the average insha’Allah. Moreover, you will be working harder.
• Be prepared to work under pressure. Wherever you study, the pressure and the competition will be there. Therefore, practise patience. Do not fall into jealousy or despair, and do not give up. There are a few students who give up even before trying and say “What’s the use? We are going to fail anyways!” I would advise such students to avoid negative assumptions because you really do not have knowledge of the unseen and therefore, cannot predict (or condemn!) your future this way.
• Balance your course load. Many students take a lot of subjects at a stretch and hence, end up getting bad grades.
• Avoid jealousy and comparison. Competition will exist everywhere and we need to take this in a healthy manner. You will get only that which Allah has decreed for you. Compete for the Hereafter instead, and remember to want for your brother or sister what you would want for yourself so be happy at their success as you would celebrate your own.
• Be independent. Do not ask your tutor to do your home assignments. Do not resort to plagiarism. Do not skip classes or daydream in classes thinking that you will copy the lecture notes from others. You can ask others for advice only. Otherwise, you will not learn anything for real.
• Do not compromise on your moral obligations, such as respecting seniors, advising juniors, deterring bullies, maintaining discipline, etc. Do not lie, cheat, plagiarize, lose your hayaa (modesty), neglect your prayers, etc.
Failure is not the end, but actually a means to reaching greater heights. If, even after trying your best, you do not get a good grade, do not be disheartened. This only means that there is room for further improvement. I was rejected twice before making it to one of the best universities in my country. That helped me to recognize and overcome my weaknesses. I studied harder, and the knowledge that I had gained during that phase will stay with me for a long time insha’Allah. Therefore, if you analyze, you will realize that you do not have anything to lose from failure. Furthermore, grades are not the only indicators of your skills. There have been many students with poor grades who were able to contribute greatly to the society or to get excellent jobs. Sometimes, many students fail due to the incapability of the teacher or due to an illness. Therefore, do not be too harsh on yourself if you get bad grades – keep it in perspective, after all, our grade on the test of life is the one that really truly counts.
May Allah make it easier for everyone to excel in their studies. Ameen.
About the Author:
By Khadeejah Islam, writer at http://www.habibihalaqas.org