“Do you. Whoever that person is. Don’t feel the need to conform to what everyone is doing, because if you do things for the sake of it, you’ll definitey regret it.”
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Back to school season is upon us once again and what better way to kick it off than a post about back to school tips!
1. Do not over commit yourself
When I say don’t over commit yourself, I’m not saying don’t challenge yourself. What I’m saying is don’t chew off more than you can bite. Don’t take on more courses than you can handle and don’t join too many clubs.
I myself am in a bit of a pickle because I’m involved in an immense number of things, and I am clueless on what to drop and what not to. To be quite frank, I want to be involved in all these things, hence why I signed up for all of them in the first place. Unfortunately, it turned out that I had not thought through these issues as keenly as I thought I had.
Regardless, I still think it is possible to manage multiple responsibilities. Just make sure you’ve thought keenly about them and planned accordingly. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you want to do it.
If you want to survive in the big bad jungle that is university, you need to schedule every important event taking place in your crazy and hectic life (if you are anything like me).
I’m talking assignments and when they are due, exam dates, school events you’ll be attending, school trips, club meetings, personal trips with your friends or family, lunch dates…EVERYTHING! Otherwise you’ll end up being pulled in so many directions that you’ll end up exhausted and falling short of your full potential.
Last semester, I ended up neglecting my friends because I never blocked out time for them. I never planned accordingly and that part of my life ended up suffering. Therefore, invest in a planner and go crazy with it!
3.Develop a routine and stick to it.
I know most of us hate routines. However, if you want to accomplish all your goals and stay on top of your game, you have to develop a routine. Trust me.
By developing a routine, what you are innately doing is developing discipline. If you have a morning routine where you wake up at 5am, pray, do some exercise, take a shower, prepare breakfast and eat, then you leave no room for bumming around.
As you keep repeating this routine, it becomes engraved into your system to the extent where even when you sleep late, you’re awake by 5am and going about your routine because your body is already used to it. Give it a try and see what happens.
4.Plan your morning or day the night before.
I learned this trick from this amazing Productive Muslim e-book here, which you can download for free.
Plan your day before you go to bed. You know when you wake up all groggy, and you have that ‘just got run over by a truck’ feeling, and the alarm is going off but you just keep on snoozing until you realize you’re two hours late?
Well, by planning your day the night before, you are registering the fact that you have all these things you need to do. Therefore, when the alarm goes off, you can’t really afford to push that snooze button because you remember that you have a test to study for, or you have a tournament coming up, or you have to shop for your friend’s wedding.
Another trick you could use is to find incentives. Something that will give you that excitement to wake up in the morning. It could be finishing the Surah you’ve been reading, watching your favourite show, or jogging with your best friend.
5.Plan your outfits the night before.
If you can plan your outfits for the whole week, please do it. Please. I can tell you from experience that there are going to be days when you look like you just rolled out of bed, got hit by a bus, trampled over by a stampede and somehow ended up in a classroom. And quite frankly, its going to affect how you feel and how you interact with other people.
Doing this once in a while is okay. But if you do this enough times and you reach that optimum level where you just don’t give a flying whisk anymore, slap yourself back to reality!
I know we shouldn’t care about what other people think, but that’s only if you are doing something sane like chasing your dream. Looking well groomed is important because it will definitely affect how your friends, lecturers and even strangers see you.
As a Muslim, cleanliness and being immaculate should be part of you. Yes, lazy days are allowed, but they don’t come everyday. That’s why they are called ‘lazy days’ in the first place.
6. Budget your money.
Learn to budget your money or else you will be broke forever! Okay maybe that was slightly exaggerated. However, most of the time, you will be broke, which is one of the worst things that can happen to you.
If you are broke, you’ll have to keep asking people for money. This can end up earning you the label ‘leech’ or ‘parasite’ and trust me, no one likes a friend who is constantly asking for money.
The solution is actually quite simple. The key is to put your needs before your wants. Do you need it or do you want it? That is the million-dollar question. And be honest with yourself!
7. Learn to say NO!
Learn to say no. Learn to accept the fact that it’s okay to say no (when appropriate, of course). Peer pressure becomes extra apparent and almost unavoidable in college, so you also have to be really careful about who you hang out with. Don’t be afraid to say no to parties or weird experiments lest you lose your friends. If they are truly your friends, they’ll respect your values and how you choose to live your life.
8. Be around people who make you uncomfortable. (the good kind)
If you only associate yourself with people who are doing more to encourage your comfort zone than to challenge you, then you are definitely associating yourself with the wrong crowd. Be around people who make you uncomfortable in the sense that they challenge you to try new, positive things. They help you become a better person in every aspect of your life and help you be the best you can be.
9. You are not your grades.
I know the pressure of getting good grades can be paralyzing. However, you need to keep in mind that you are not your grades. You are who you want to be. So if your grades aren’t looking so good, there’s always hope. You can change them. You can make them better. It might be hard, but you can do it. Trust me.
10. Be who you want to be.
Do you. Whoever that person is. Don’t feel the need to conform to what everyone is doing, because if you do things for the sake of it, you’ll definitely regret it.
Don’t be afraid to pray in an open area because people will see you. Don’t be afraid to meet new people, and don’t be afraid to be alone if you don’t find people who complement you.
These four years are a time for you to discover who you are and what you want to do with your life, if you don’t already know. You are going to experience some of the best moments of your life, but also some of the worst. You’re going to learn and grow. So hold fast to the deen and make loads of dua, and in Shaa Allah, you’ll have a blast.
And even if you slip, remember the doors of tawbah and second chances are always open. So go forth, trust Allah (swa) and stay true.