It can feel hard to stay on top of things when being a student, right? Easy to feel down in the dumps and dwell in less positivity than how you may have started out.
We admit, whether to ourselves or others, going through education is stressful. It can be an experience that makes you realise and re-evaluate – whether that is about yourself, the education system in general or the learning process undertaken. Why do we willingly strap ourselves into this rollercoaster ride? There can be many reasons, primarily gaining knowledge but wanting to succeed is associated with it. Like any rollercoaster, there’s the anticipation, the highs and lows then the relief and joy at the end as you reach the finish line or get closer to it.
An emotion that is sometimes forgotten or pushed out of the limelight when going through the struggles of student life can be hope. Hope may seem like a simple emotion, research suggests cultivating hope is actually a complicated process—but there are significant rewards for those who make the effort.
Researchers have found that students who are high in hope have greater academic success, stronger friendships, and demonstrate more creativity and better problem-solving. They also have lower levels of depression and anxiety as well as being less likely to drop out from school.
In fact, studies suggest that having hope may actually predict a student’s future academic achievement more than having feelings of self-worth or a positive attitude towards life.
Hope can give confidence and creativity, there is always hope to feel, and create a change.
The good news is that hope can be cultivated, even among students who are at risk for losing it. But first we have to understand what scientists mean when they talk about hope.
Hope doesn’t mean wishful thinking—as in “I hope I win the lottery.” Snyder and colleagues (Snyder, Harris, et al., 1991) characterised hope as a human strength manifested in a person with the capacity, knowing how to:
- Set clear and attainable goals (goals thinking).
- Develop multiple strategies to reach those goals (pathways thinking).
- Stay motivated to use the strategies to attain the goals, even when the going gets tough (agency thinking).
Easier said than done, we know. Yet we should not take failure personally, remember it is all part of the progress – use it to improve our performance for the next time. Think, “I can do this, I believe I will get through this, I will not give up.” Try not to be disheartened; a little bit of optimism goes a long way and can even help when facing obstacles.
As Muslims, we should remember Islam encourages us to seek knowledge, the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, 10
Thus, seeking knowledge (which benefits) can be a lifelong struggle nevertheless an effort that is honourable:
“Allah is with you, and will never decrease the reward of your good deeds.”
The people of the past would strive to seek knowledge and we live in an era where there is an abundant of information and strategies right at our fingertips that can make knowledge less difficult and easier to cope with.
Check out our Facebook page to see how others are coping and be sure to let us know how you are #CopingWithEducation and in the meantime, keep this dua close by!
اللهم انى أسالك علماً نافعاً و رزقاً طيباً و عملاً متقبلاً
Allahumma inni as’aluka ‘Ilman naafi’an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan O Allah! I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision and deeds that will be accepted.
May we be of those who gain knowledge that is of benefit, a pure provision and deeds that will be accepted, Ameen.