March 20, 2023

Studying and writing exams during Ramadan

Tips to help keep you balanced while observing Ramadan.

Ramadan is almost upon us—which, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is the holy month of fasting for Muslims. On each day, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset (meaning no eating or drinking during that time) and focus on developing a stronger connection with God through giving charity, reciting the Qu’ran, making dua (supplication), attending Tarawih (communal prayer), and practicing good character. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid-al-Fitr by dressing up in fancy clothes, giving gifts, and eating lots of food. This year, Ramadan is said to begin on the evening of March 22, meaning the first day of fasting will take place on March 23. 

If you’re observing Ramadan, it can often be challenging to balance life as a student---you might experience reduced energy levels and difficulty concentrating because of fasting and interrupted sleep schedules. As a result, it’s especially important to take care of yourself during this time and reach out for support if you need it, such as at the Faith and Spirituality Centre (FSC) on campus.   

Below, we’ve compiled some tips from the FSC community to help you during this time: 

  • Plan ahead by making a special schedule for the month of Ramadan that outlines your projects, assignments, and exams.    

  • A former UCalgary student found it helpful to schedule study time early in the day and take short naps in the afternoon. The FSC and The Women’s Resource Centre, located on the 4th floor of MacEwan Student Centre, have spaces to take naps in a quiet, secluded room.  

  • Plan your study breaks around prayer times—prayer is an excellent opportunity for relaxation, reflection, and meditation.  

  • Shower to wake yourself up and as a way to clean yourself before prayer.  

  • Switch the topic that you’re studying every hour, since fasting can make it difficult to focus on one subject for long periods of time.  

  • Clean your workspace before Ramadan begins to keep you free from distractions while studying.  

  • Find quiet spaces on campus to study that are away from the action to help yourself stay focused, such as the upper floors of TFDL (note that you can book private study rooms if needed), the Gallagher Library, and the Law Library

  • Set up a study space away from your bed. You’ll be tired as your sleep schedule shifts and the temptation to sleep will be greater than ever. Instead, plan nap times throughout the day and stick to your schedule.  

Though Ramadan is all about putting yourself in the shoes of those who are less fortunate, make sure that you’re treating yourself with patience and kindness, too; remember that Islam places a significant amount of value on taking care of the self, both mentally and physically.