I Haven’t Done Well in My Entry Tests; I’m Depressed

13 September, 2017
Q Assalam alaikum. I have so many problems. As I mentioned in an earlier message to you, I had my entry tests for Medicine. I haven’t scored so well in those and now I am quite uncertain about my results. I do have strong faith in Allah. I pray to Him and I believe that He will grant me a blessing. But my family and friends really depress me. I don't know what to do. I have my school friends, I have a best friend, but now she has changed so much. I feel I am useless in her life. My friends also have the same situation but I am unable to help them. They have their families to support them. I don’t know what to do. Should I just leave to ease their difficulties? I want to isolate myself with Allah alone in my thoughts and my heart. Will that solve my problems?


In this counseling answer:

The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful individual is not IQ or test scores, but rather grit, or perseverance. So, evaluate yourself and your study habits. Make a list of ways in which you can improve.

As-Salamu ’Alaikum dear sister,

I am glad that you have placed your trust in Allah (swt). When difficult times arise, it is very easy to lose our trust in Allah (swt) and become pessimistic and hopeless. However, in such circumstances, we must remember that Allah (swt) is the best of planners and everything He does is in our best interest. When we think this way, we will never feel disheartened.

Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and Purpose

In the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, the author, Angela Duckworth, explains that the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful individual is not IQ or test scores, but rather grit. Grit means perseverance. Grit means to never give up and always try. Therefore, it is a very important quality to have when sincerely trying to achieve a goal.

In addition, qualities which determine an individual’s success in a field is passion and purpose. If there is passion involved, then there will never be dead in the face of a failure. Passion and perseverance determine the level of success of individuals. When there is a purpose to the pursuit of a specific field, then it will be easy to work hard towards achieving the goal and meeting the purpose. When there is a certain purpose in mind, then doubts will not emerge. The goal won’t be clouded by uncertainties.

Allah (swt) also addresses failure in the Quran. In fact, it is a form of a test from Allah (swt) and our reaction determines the result we will obtain after undergoing the test of Allah (swt).

In the Quran, Allah (swt) says,

„O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (2: 153)

„And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” (2:155)

I realize that not getting a good score is not very easy to endure. It is human nature to despair at the slightest mishap. However, nothing worth having comes easy. When you look at the lives of the some of the most successful personalities in the world, they have undergone very hard circumstances. How we approach a given circumstance determines our result.

Lemonade out of Lemons

Sometimes, a roadblock in our path teaches us something that is a blessing in disguise. For example, by getting a bad test score, we realize that perhaps we need to improve our study habits, alongside increasing our level of worship. A bad test score could have made us realize that we need to improve our connection with Allah (swt) and, hence, forced us to reevaluate our connection with Him.

Therefore, evaluate yourself and your study habits. Make a list of ways in which you can improve. This will greatly help you in the future no matter what path you decide to embark. Read up on books describing medical doctors and their experiences, and medical ethics, and so on and so forth. Not only will this inspire you, but it will also make you realize the importance of the field you want to pursue.

In the Quran, Allah (swt) says,

„If Allah knows [any] good in your hearts, He will give you [something] better than what was taken from you, and He will forgive you; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (8: 70)

Therefore, do not dwell on the bad test score or the lack of support from family and friends. Rather, think about ways of making yourself a better candidate for medical school.

Why medicine?

In addition, many people are programmed to think that there is literally nothing worthy of pursuing aside from medical school, engineering, or law school. This is true especially in countries such as India and Pakistan. To achieve the title of a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer, they go to great heights, some of which are not always right. Unfortunately, along with the process, they forget that becoming a doctor is not about the nobility it offers, the respect, and certainly not the money, but rather about the help and relieve it provides to those who are sick and helpless and poor.

Consequently, if your goal is to pursue medicine given an intrinsic motivation to do good and change the lives of others for the better, then you should not feel disheartened by a few small roadblocks. When the purpose and intentions are pure, a few roadblocks will not be difficult to overcome.

Isolation does more harm than good

Lastly, you certainly do not need to isolate yourself to feel more connected with Allah (swt). In fact, isolation does more harm than it does good. Isolation causes us to fall back into the past and rewind and replay the past, which is often not the best way to approach the future. The best way to approach the future is with a positive attitude. Most often, when we think about a negative past, we are far from having a positive attitude.

What you can do is surround yourself with friends and family and not constantly think and talk about one circumstance/situation at all times. You have the right to enjoy yourself. Allah (swt) made this world a blessing for us. It is our job to enjoy its bounties. Spend a day at the park, visit local mosques and attend lectures, volunteer, and spend time observing nature. The human being is known as social creatures, and being social (in adequacy) is psychologically and physically beneficial to human health.

Friends come and go

People come and go in our lives. When they leave us, it is the end of their part in our lives. We must not distress over the fact and try to move ahead with positivity. The positivity can be achieved when we see the wisdom behind everything.

You mentioned that your friend has changed. Perhaps the change that your friend embraced may not have proven to be in your interest. Therefore, to overcome your feeling of worthlessness simply because your best friend has decided to distance herself, you must expand your network to individuals outside of your current network. Perhaps your friendship was saved from getting worse.

I pray that my answer provided the guidance that you were looking. I pray that you succeed in all your endeavors.



Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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