Islam promotes seeking all types of knowledge, although seeking Islamic knowledge is the most virtuous, studying secular subjects along side Islamic studies open many doors towards inviting others towards Islam.
Below are some tips to get the most of your time at university:
1. Start clean, Niyyah! – Good Intentions.
Your faith should be sincere to Allah (glorified and exalted be He), and that the deed is intended for His sake. As the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim” [Tirmidhi]
Keeping this in mind will remind you why you actually go to university. If you have good intentions for your studies, Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) will attach barakah to them.
2. Early to bed, early to rise!
Sleep. Make sure you get the hours you need, and set a consistent time to wake up every day to maintain a routine. It is best to sleep for 8 hours between Isha and Fajr prayers. This will keep your energy level up so you can get more out of your studying and classes. .
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Allah made the early hours blessed for my Ummah” [Tirmidhi]
3. Start fresh!
Try getting up at least an hour before your lectures. Having breakfast really does help – as does taking a shower – to wake yourself up! Have a balanced breakfast to boost your energy, and if your class is in the afternoon, a balanced light meal beforehand helps as well.
Of course, don’t be late for your lectures, either: it’s much better to arrive five minutes early and have time to prepare, rather than rush in and have to start writing and listening straight away.
4. Join a group!
Students working together generally learn faster than those working alone. In addition, being a part of a study group helps you gain new perspectives. For instance, you might always understand some approaches the same way, while within a study group, you’ll start noticing that some things can be understood and expressed differently, therefore learned more thoroughly. Also, if you chose your companions carefully, you might learn new, even better, study skills. Look for potential students, both friends and classmates, that you can study and compare notes with.
5. Don’t linger.
Having big breaks makes you less productive, which can be controlled while setting up your schedule and choosing subjects. Don’t forget that your schedule should be balanced and according to your capabilities. Where possible, try to have classes in the hours that you are more productive, especially the morning. Avoid having more than 2-hour breaks between classes to keep a consistent pace. Also don’t overload your afternoons after lunch; during this time, your body may feel lethargic and need some rest. If you prefer to study in the afternoons, then I recommend classes after 4pm when your mind and body are more alert.
6. Avoid bad influences
At college or university, there will always be students who will have completely different perspectives about life, whether it is in terms of study habits, money/spending, relationships, or spirituality. Avoid hanging anyone with negative outlooks on these things too much, or you may find yourself getting involved in their expensive, destructive, or otherwise dissimilar lifestyles. Always recall the saying of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him): “A person is upon the religion of his close friend, so beware whom you befriend” [At-Tirmithi].
7. Get organised!
As a student, you will no doubt have much paperwork and information coming to you. This is why it’s important to have some system in place so you don’t get overwhelmed, especially with course-related work. Keep in mind that your schedule shouldn’t only have your classes and lectures, but should also include your part-time activities and study time. For instance, while setting up a schedule you should include: classes, study/homework time, extra-curricular and social, activities, work schedule (if applicable). Hope that helps!