Studying – Getting back to it


Alright so, this is a different kind of post; not the usual for this blog. But I figured writing about it would make the transition back easier. 

 Quick update: I moved to Toronto. There’s a meter long list of things that need to be crossed off and I’m working my way s-l-o-w-l-y-y-y-y-y, but alhmdulilah I’ve got a head start on quite a few things and now I just need to pull through this final stretch before A WARM, SUNNY SUMMER BACK HOME.  Which reminds me, we’ve been doing some gardening work which I might blog about.

I took a break from studying for about three months and now I have exactly 10 weeks till the exam deadlines. I’ll be ranting  writing about math, time management, driving, study hacks that work for me, scheduling and routines, Shakespeare, functionalism, chai, yummy face masks, libraries, my playlist, detox smoothies and MUCH MORE. 

Currently, I’m finding it difficult to get my old sleep/wake schedule back. There are quite a few factors that threw my routine out of whack. For one, days are longer now and I got quite used to having long, relaxing nights since I’m a nocturnal study person, if you know what I mean. My mind is just more refreshed and at peace when everyone else is at rest and there is no excitement anywhere. Another reason would be the flu season. Flu medicine and generally feeling fatigued in the past month has left me really sluggish and I suppose it’s the adrenaline rushes and a sense of I-need-to-get-this-done-NOW accountability stuff that got me through till now, but it really hasn’t been the best two months of the year. 

I REALLY miss my winter schedule which was sleeping at around 6: 30 PM (YES!) or 7: 15 PM at max. ‘Isha was around that time so I’d be done with all my work by that time which made my prayer so much more productive, if that makes sense. I didn’t have that nagging feeling at the end of the day. I slept well and was up without an alarm at around 3: 30 AM or 4: 00 AM. That gave me enough time to get up slowly, get breakfast (I skipped a meal in the day so I’d be hungry by this time), pray and revise before jumping into it. I’d get all this done and still be at my desk a good 30 minutes before Fajr. This was always a good time to get myself ready for the day, recheck my schedule and get myself organized basically.

After Fajr, I’d start my most difficult assignment and get it done and ready for submission (!) by 9 or 10 AM. I basically worked on one major assignment everyday, alternating between courses. This got me through English and Biology pretty fast but I’m still struggling with Math and Sociology. I had a mid-morning snack at around 11 AM which consisted of a banana and two Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses. This kept me from craving coffee and tea and also kept hunger pangs at bay till it was lunch time.

I was also teaching on Mondays and Wednesdays which took up the entire morning basically, because it would be around 11 AM or 12 PM by the time I was properly done. On those days, I would lessen my study load just to keep my sleep schedule in check. (Sleep has become increasingly important, not because I’m trying to be “healthy” or finally acknowledging sleep or anything like that, but simply because I seem to need it more. By more I mean a full 5-6 or sometimes 8 hours of uninterrupted shut-eye.)

After lunch, I’d have some down time with my curtains closed just to get 15 minutes of shut-eye. Around 1 PM to 5: 30 PM, I’d work on a few assignments at a time. This set me up for the next day. And that’s about it! I skipped dinner because I’d still be full from lunch, sometimes getting a snack or a glass of milk before ‘Isha and bedtime. This was my routine from October all the way through till the end of December. Every. Single. Day.

Disclaimer: There was VERY limited socializing fitting into this routine for obvious reasons. I’d be holed up in my room all day mostly by myself, unless I had tiny human visitors who were my stress therapy 🙂 so I had an amazing time with them. Weekend family meet-ups were something I couldn’t exactly avoid though, but those didn’t really affect my schedule since I was on my toes all week long. Basically, no socializing throughout the week and barely minimal stuff over the weekend. NOTHING that ruined my sleep/wake schedule though. It became quite impossible to keep this routine up in the next few months. 

January brought a turn of events and some added, urgent responsibilities that I had to take a break for. The break wasn’t exactly planned but I did know that it would come. It was a good break, and there’s just one thing I want to put out there in summary:

 إِنَّ لِجَسَدِكَ عَلَيْكَ حَقًّا ، وَلِرَبِّكَ عَلَيْكَ حَقًّا ، وَلأَهْلِكَ عَلَيْكَ حَقًّا ، أَعْطِ كُلَّ ذِي حَقٍّ حَقَّهُ

“Truly, your body has rights over you, and your Lord has rights over you, and your family has rights over you. So give each one it’s due of rights.”

It’s time to get back into it. Now that the days are longer, the nights are shorter and Fajr is earlier, the most important goal this week is to be up and well-rested at the right time.

This week I’ll be working on getting a schedule. That way I’ll know what I need to do to make it effective. I’ll be starting with:

1- Organizing my study. I have a new study/office area which just needs a little more tweaking. I don’t like the lighting/temperature of the room yet, so I’ll be setting up a lamp and a portable heater there. You can’t write with frozen phalanges and you will fall asleep with dimmed lights.

2- Pulling out my bullet journal, calendar and stickies. (+ Sharpies, highlighters, Stabilos and notes.) I want to have an overview of what I’ll be tackling in the coming weeks. 

3- Eliminating distractions. I can’t really think of what I waste my spare time doing though. I do nothing when I get a chance. I need to stop getting distracted by nothing. 

A major ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ll be teaching online classes inshaAllah, starting from the first week of May. We’ve been planning this for a few years now but never really got around to doing it. It is a not-for-profit initiative and I hope that things work out inshaAllah. 

That’s somewhat of a good update. It’s definitely the most personal blog post I’ve done so far. Niqabinja has been super busy as well and we have a lot of catching up to do. Leave a comment if you come by!

P.S. I got to do some translation work for Al Jumuah Magazine Alhmdulilah, which was SO exciting because I’ve been reading their magazine for a while now and I just love it. Check out the website at and here’s a link to the translated article 

-Umm Saifullah 



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