Growing up, I spent most of my Ramadan’s fasting during the summer and for the past years, the month has been different as the fasting period goes into spring and eventually the winter months. Being a college student while fasting and in general partaking in Ramadan can be difficult, so I wanted to dedicate an article for fellow Muslim students and staff on how to have a balance between school and Ramadan, especially when fasting
Start with Small Goals
If you’re like me and have goals for Ramadan, make sure to start small with your intentions. It’s important not to stress yourself out with your academics, Ramadan goals, and fasting. By that, you can spend five minutes after class reading the Quran on your phone or reciting dhikr (remembrance of God) while commuting to campus. Another example could be if you’re struggling with praying, you can always start with one or two (so say you start praying after sunrise and sunset) and eventually build up the habit of getting all five. Starting small with your goals can eventually motivate you to continue with larger goals. Even if you don’t usually set goals for the month, many Muslims encourage you to take advantage of this month as much as you can, even if that means giving salaams (greetings) to another Muslim or going as far as volunteering.
Taking breaks is very important, not just during Ramadan, but outside of the holy month. With fasting, we may feel tired throughout the day without eating, drinking, or even getting less sleep. I struggled with this in the first few days of fasting, but I try to discipline myself to sleep after prayer Isha (night prayers) during the week when I have classes. Even though there may be fewer hours of sleep during Ramadan, this goes back to building up the habit of making sure I get enough sleep. Some ways you can wind down and rest is by going to the library to lie down on a beanbag chair, sitting in the study room, or using the meditation space in BLDG III on the 4th floor behind the elevators.
Advocate for Yourself
Speaking up for yourself is something that does not come easy for some of us, but with Ramadan here, we have to make sure we are communicating with our classmates, professors, and colleagues that our schedule may look different than normal. Let’s say you take evening classes and iftar (breaking of fast) arrives. You can tell your professor that you may have to leave class early to eat. Advocating for yourself during this month can also be great practice if you struggle with this.
Being in a community with Muslims during Ramadan has such a beautiful feeling. However, for some Muslims, finding a community may be difficult for various reasons. One way to start is to find one or two Muslims in your classes or on campus you can connect with. This can be challenging, especially if you’re shy or don’t know a lot of Muslims. If you’re up for the challenge, there is a Ramadan Iftar Party in BLDG IV – 4321 on April 13 from 7 – 8:30 where you can meet other Muslims and break your fast with them.
These are just some of the many tips you can follow during Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak to my fellow Muslims and may this month be filled with many blessings!
I’m not Muslim, but as always with your writing, Aisha, these are some beautiful reflections and insights. Wishing you a happy and peaceful Ramadan journey.
Thank you so much Steve for your comments and support! I really appreciate it!