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Will I Ever Graduate from College?

Questioner

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Reply Date

Apr 09, 2017

Question

Assalam waleikum. I am a student meant to graduate last year, but I am a huge procrastinator and kept referring my exams until now. I have 16 units left to graduate which means if I join classes I'll have to graduate in December, inshallah. I lied to my parents that I will graduate in July. What should I do? Thank you.

Counselor

Answer


Will I Ever Graduate from College?

Answer:

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,

Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation.

Procrastination is the key ingredient towards failure not only in this world but also in the afterlife.

In the Quran, Allah (swt) tells us,

“By time, Indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (103:1-3)

This, I believe, is one of the most important chapters of the Quran. In this chapter, not only does Allah (swt) refer to time, but He (swt) also advice that everyone who do not believe and do righteous deeds, or guide each other towards righteousness and patience, will experience loss. So, for avoiding any form of loss, we must be valuing our time and striving to do good deeds.

Even the Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:

“There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari)

Again, the Prophet Muhammed (saw) advises us to be productive when Allah (swt) has granted us good health and ample of time. Many people waste their two priceless blessings dwelling on unproductive activities and eventually losing both health and time simultaneously.

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Being an undergraduate student myself, I do sometimes fall prey to the deadly procrastination. I am sure everyone procrastinates occasionally. However, the key is to not let it overcome your life. I have come to realize that ambition is far greater than procrastination itself. In my opinion, procrastination is the result of a wilting ambition and motivation. Therefore, you need to strengthen your intentions and motivate yourself and work against your will to be passive.

The Prophet Muhammed (saw) said:

“At night Satan ties a rope in which there are three knots to the nape of the neck of anyone of you. If he wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is untied. If he performs ablution, another knot is untied, and if he gets up to pray, all the knots are untied, so he wakes up energetic and cheerful, he has already earned something good. But if he does not do that, he wakes up bad-tempered, having earned nothing good.” (Bukhari)

Dear sister, as we strive to proceed in the direction desiring Allah’s (swt) blessings and happiness, we will surely be able to combat procrastination with more ease. As we can see from what the Prophet (saw) told us, when we wake up for the prayers of the dawn, we are already surpassing Satan’s first attempt to lead us astray. Waking up early, as mentioned in the above saying, also makes the person feel energetic and cheerful; both of which are the antithesis of procrastination.

Modern psychology has only recently been able to realize the benefits of meditating early in the morning, whereas our blessed Prophet (saw) prescribed us these practices more than 1400 years ago.

When psychologists interviewed highly successful people, they found a common pattern–they were all early birds. Many surgeries are done in an early morning, most authors get their award-winning ideas articulated in the morning, and many CEO’s make executive decisions for the betterment of their companies in the morning, and so on. I am sure you can think of many others yourself. Therefore, dear sister, you must make a serious effort to wake up early in the morning and overcome the lack of motivation.

If you do not try to overcome procrastination, it will hinder any form of success from coming your way. Perhaps, it may even become an obstacle towards your planned graduation in December.

As for telling your parents about your time of graduation, you must be transparent. As you have probably heard, “honesty is the best policy.” Your parents, although a bit harsh and sometimes intimidating, want the best for you, and they deserve to be knowledgeable about your problems and successes in life. eee

Therefore, you must approach them with sincerity and lay out your plan for them. They might be a little disappointed given that they must have placed their full trust in your ability to graduate and succeed at a given time. However, you must understand their sentiments and earn their trust while ensuring that you are sincere and will pursue your goals with hard work. I am sure they will understand.

They themselves might have had setbacks at some points in their lives, for which they had to make hard choices to overcome. Likewise, you need to make the hard choice of telling the truth and sincerely working towards success.

Referring back to the chapter of the Quran, Al-Asr, you must be guided by your belief in Allah (swt) and strive to do righteous deeds, one of which is not lying, hiding the truth, and not wasting time.

You can tell your parents that you had been a little careless; however, your love and respect for them inspired you to seek help and be honest so that you may have a clear conscious. Confessions show your honesty and the fact that you realized your mistakes. You need to communicate this effectively with your parents. Dear sister, a lot of family related problems these days are a result of ineffective communication.

While explaining the situation to your parents, you must not become defensive; have a calm and a stable composure. You should realize that it is your mistake, accept it, and vow to fix it, with Allah’s (saw) help.

For you convenience, here a few steps you should take to ensure that you do not relapse to procrastination:

  1. Find the root of procrastination
  2. Wake up early, go to bed early
  3. Plan short term goals with a deadline (what needs to be done today? By the end of this week?)
  4. Schedule your time and day early in the morning
  5. Start your day with Fajr prayer, and a reflection of what you’d like to get done

I hope I provided the answer that you were looking for. I pray that you resolve the issue with your parents. I also hope that you graduate with ease and get back on track with your education.

Salam,

***

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About Madiha Sadaf

Madiha Sadaf in an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, enrolled in BSc. with Major in Biology and Psychology with Minor in Health Social Sciences.

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