April 20, 2024

Unilagsun

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Balancing Books and Beliefs 

By Ihaza Mary and Azizi Kunmisola

Imagine being a student at the University, where you have to juggle classes, assignments, and other activities while still finding time to rest. Even at that, some students also try to maintain their spiritual faith. This feature explores students’ challenges and how they figure out ways to balance their schoolwork and spiritual activities. 

Challenges

Students go through so many activities in a day and can get lost in all of these activities. Though many students believe there are no difficulties when participating in spiritual activities, they believe God will always come through and make ways for them.

However, not all students share this view. 

“It is not really easy for students, especially the Muslims,” Tunde-Awe Temitope, a 400-level student, says, “but I think it comes from a place of self-discipline.” She mentions how tiring it can be to observe the five daily Muslim prayers, attend classes, do assignments, and struggle with what to eat. She also speaks about the stereotype that most students get from practising their faith. 

Ogundipe Racheal, a 400-level Mathematics student, also adds that it takes work to make choices. “Sometimes, as Christian students, we might have to forgo classes to attend our spiritual activities and might also let go of some religious activities to be in class.” For Rachael, this is a major challenge and boils down to the power of making good choices and decisions.

Folashade, a 400-level Mathematics education student, also indicates stress as a major challenge. “It can be stressful to balance faith-based activities and academics simultaneously, but there is a reward for the stress.”

Students often encounter difficulties when their peers who don’t share their faith don’t quite understand where they’re coming from. This is where many students have to draw a line between their relationship with others and the struggle to become better people through their beliefs. Many students find this stage very tasking as it might ruin their social life.

Strategies

Yusuf Olaniyi, a 500-level first-class student of the Department of Civil Engineering, attests that having a daily timetable, prioritising the most important activities, and dropping the least important ones have helped him strike a balance. Although he’s serving as the coordinator for Engineering Muslim Students, he admits that religious positions do not affect academics. He manages his time by setting goals, reviewing them, asking for help when necessary, and trying to do only a few things at a time. 

“You can’t have it all,” he says. “You might have to sacrifice some social activities or events.” 

Olisemelie Azuka, a 500-level computer science student and the president of a student fellowship on campus, shares the same opinion. “Faith-based activities should not be an excuse to fail in academics.” 

For some students, the belief that a higher power watches and directs each of their actions and decisions has helped many students navigate school life and spiritual activities. This applies to Blessing, a 200-level insurance student who confirms that her faith life complements her academics and that the church has impacted her in many ways. She also speaks of how prayers have helped and continue to help her balance academics with other activities.

Time management

Many students think that the reason why they do not participate in faith-based activities is due to lack of time. These activities include attending religious services, regular prayer and study time, and participating in religious gatherings. Though some students still struggle with managing their time, it is important to note that prioritising the important things first, sticking to a daily schedule, and avoiding any form of distraction can improve their time management. Many students get distracted easily by social media happenings, which consumes most of their time. 

Olisemelie observes that all his faith-based activities in a week amount to just a day in that week, and he still has six days left to himself.  This is where proper planning comes into place. Proper planning and reducing procrastination are key factors in achieving effective time management. Students should outline each activity for the day, follow a properly planned schedule, avoid procrastination, and maintain a daily timetable or routine.

Habeeb, a 500-level engineering student, emphasises the need for friends who share the same goals. “Having an accountability partner can help you be more serious and achieve your goals.” 

Mariam, a 300-level mass communication student, admits that some students build their relationship with God on campus, so it’s vital to know what activities to participate in and what not to be involved in. She highlights the need to say “no” to some events and activities.

Conclusion

Trying to balance academics and faith-based activities is a lot for university students. Still, academic excellence is possible while maintaining faith through commitment, effective time management, and dedication to each activity. Despite the challenges, students finding ways to strike a balance say nurturing their faith is worthwhile.

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