Exam season was always hard enough for me with all the planning, revising, stressing and eventually taking the exams. And Ramadan, as it is, is already a challenge enough that I can only imagine what it must be like for students this summertime, completing their exams during the long hours whilst fasting. My sister, who is currently a second year at University, spent her Ramadan last year balancing her observation of the holy month, in addition to writing her first year exams. So I sat down with her and discussed how she survived the exam period during Ramadan. Here are some useful tips on how to survive and make the most of Ramadan, which I hope will help any of you students out there this blessed month.
Leading up to Ramadan, find other Muslim students at your University and come together to support one another during the month. Reach out to societies to see if any of them with a Muslim student community are planning anything, or try your Students’ Union and see if they have any Ramadan related events or initiatives organised for Muslim students. Once you get your community together, maybe organise to do group Iftars where you all bring a dish so you don’t have to think too much about cooking alongside studying. Seek out your local mosque too as many offer free Iftars and that way you can release the burden of having to sort out your dinner with your studies weighing on your mind, and you can also meet other Muslims in your local area too to spend the holy month with.
Find a routine that works for you as the way you revise is going to change once Ramadan begins. Essentially, you will have between 3 am to 9 pm (if you are UK based) to schedule in your revision and making sure you get some time to rest too. Perhaps break up your day where you sleep after Suhr, wake up around midday and then study until Maghrib. But you might prefer to structure your day differently. Then use the time between Iftar and Suhr to relax. Whatever you decide, choose the hours of the day that you feel the most energised and rework your usual daily routine to accommodate for you to observe Ramadan to the best of your ability, as well as dedicate time to prepare for your exams. Also before the month commences, get your notes in order and condense the essential information you need to know to make it easier to take in when fasting. With all this hard work, do remember to take regular breaks which you could schedule around the five daily prayers.
Try and make sure you are still getting a balanced and healthy diet, as well as getting enough sleep during Ramadan. Avoid eating too much fatty or sugary foods between Maghrib and Fajr as you’ll only end up lethargic which isn’t ideal. Try some porridge topped with banana for Suhr as not only is this meal quite filling, but also both foods will help you feel more energised during the day as they release energy slowly. Ensure you’re getting as much water in your system between Iftar and Suhr as well to ensure you stay somewhat hydrated during the day. Watermelons, cucumber, strawberries all contain over 90% of water so why not snack on these to get your water intake too. It can be hard to cook a decent meal as a student even when you’re not fasting, so why not try cooking lots of meals in batch and freezing them for the days when you’re lacking a bit of energy too.
Since it’s the holiest month, use the time to connect with your spirituality. Maintain your prayer and seek knowledge of your faith as you do in your studies. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel like you have enough time for extra prayers or Quran recitation, just do as much as you can and pray that Allah continues to make it easy for you. Don’t forget that even the smaller acts of kindness and charity will be greatly rewarded during this month, so why not help out your fellow classmates or friends with their studies too.
Do you have any further tips to help out Muslim students observing Ramadan this exam season? Send over your tips to [email protected]