Winning Hearts

As-Salaam Alaikum everyone!
Hope you’re all doing well! In this post I just want to share something interesting that is happening at my local college campus!

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These past two days as I have been walking to and from my classes at my university (UC Irvine) I noticed that the Muslim Student Union on our campus is having this great initiative called Ask a Muslim.

Basically they have members of the MSU standing there and asking people if they want some sort of treat to eat. They have a tent set up and they have an Ask a Muslim sign up as well. Yesterday they were offering cupcakes and this morning they were offering breakfast sandwiches. If a student wanted a treat they would not only get a treat to eat but they would also be given a chance to ask any questions they had about Islam and Muslims!

I greatly commend the UCI MSU for taking this initiative and quite frankly I think this is an absolutely wonderful idea. College students love to eat and most of them are open minded and willing to learn about different ways of life.
Hopefully, more Muslim Student Associations will take this and/or similar initiatives (if they haven’t already). Even if you’re not a college student you can still take steps as an individual, or as a group (with your friends and family) to contribute to your local community.

Many Muslims, including myself, often argue that the mass media, at least here in the United States, is doing more harm than good because they often give inaccurate portrayals of Muslims in the media. These sorts of problems lead to the general public having a negative portrayal of Muslims as a whole.

However, it is impossible to change the entire mass media overnight. However, we can all do our part by starting at our local communities and trying to make a positive difference and showing our local non-Muslim neighbors that Muslims are completely normal and genuinely kind and peace loving people! (Although many non-Muslims are aware of this fact it’s still good to contribute positively to our local communities.)

If we start off at the local communities we can Inshallah win the hearts and minds of the majority of people one heart at a time.

Four Ways to Prevent a Cold

Hope you are all doing well. These past couple of days I have been a little sick with a cold (nothing too serious). Alhamdulillah I am doing better now!
I wanted to share some of my tips for fighting the common cold with the hope that Inshallah it will be of some benefit to you!flu meds

Importance of Prevention:

There is a common saying that states that “prevention is better than the cure” and I honestly believe that this is absolutely true! There are a few simple steps that you can take to prevent the cold.

Sanitize

Always make sure to wash your hands with soap and water whenever you are near or come into contact with people who are sick. Also, whenever you touch anything in a public place make sure to wash your hands before the next meal and before washing your hands try to avoid touching your nose and mouth where germs can easily enter the body.

Obviously when you are outside it’s often hard to wash your hands on a regular basis so an alternative would be to carry a small pocket-sized bottle of hand sanitizer with you.

Vitamin C

C may not be the best grade but it is a great vitamin (okay sorry for that horrible joke 🙂 ) Anyways, research shows that vitamin C is great for the immune system and can help prevent the cold from turning into something more serious like pneumonia.

I have to admit that I am a bit lazy and I just take a Vitamin C supplement to get my daily dose of this vitamin.

However, in order to stay safe it’s always best to try to get nutrients from your diet and supplements should really be used as a last resort. When we think of foods high in vitamin C we usually think of the citrus family such as oranges and lemons. Although this is true there are many other foods high in vitamin C. These include cantaloupe, broccoli, red cabbage, green pepper, red pepper, kiwi and tomatoes just to name a few.

Keep Warm:

This might seem obvious but when it’s cold or even just a little chilly outside its best to stay safe by wearing that extra layer to ensure that you stay warm! Funny story: A dear relative was telling me that when her kids were young she always told them to wear warm clothes on the cooler days but at the time they didn’t take her seriously. However, just a few days ago her daughter called her up to say that she was watching the news and the new scientific research does support her claim!

Zinc

Zinc is another nutrient that is great for strengthening the immune system. Research shows that zinc reduces the amount of cytokines which can aggravate the body during a cold. Also, zinc increases the body’s white blood cell activity which is great for reducing the chance of getting a cold and other possible infections.

I do take a zinc supplement however, there are many foods high in zinc. Such foods include chicken, beef, beans (white beans, kidney beans and chickpeas), nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios) and whole grains.

Additional Tip:

Despite your best efforts you will occasionally get a cold however, don’t fret! It’s best to know your body and try to recognize the first signs of a cold which can vary for each person. For me personally, a cold always starts off with a sore throat!

In my opinion the best strategy is to have always have some cold medicine on hand and take it immediately when you notice any of the obvious cold symptoms. I honestly don’t know if any scientific research proves this tip but in my experience and the experiences of those around me this has been a very helpful strategy.

These were just a few tips that have personally helped me and Inshallah will help you too! Please make sure to subscribe to the blog to receive an email whenever a new post is added!

Fun Facts

This post will Inshallah be updated on a regular basis so please make sure to check back for updates.

Course: Sports Psychology 

  • Sports Psychology is the study of people and their behavior in sports and excercise related activities and the practical application of that knowledge.
  • So basically two of the goals of sports psychology are to study how psychological factors influence an athletes performance and how playing sports affects the psychological and overall well-being of an individual.
  • Sports Psychology covers a wide population from children to senior citizens and people of all athletic levels. So anyone from a beginning athlete to a Olympic gold medalist can benefit from learning and applying sports psychology!
  • Sports psychology is based largely on real scientific facts and evidence however, there is an art to it as well (some people can really get into the mind of athletes and exercises in order to help them perform at their best regardless of what level they’re currently at.
  • The psychological state of an athlete can have a great impact on their performance. (The professor made an interesting statement by saying that at the Olympic level two athletes who are competing against each other have a similar skill level and they’ve both trained very well yet one wins. Sports psychology teaches us that perhaps rather than skill the winner can have other factors such as confidence, high self esteem. On the contrary perhaps the one that lost was stressed or had some sort of anxiety!
  • In Sports Psychology motivation is one of the keys to becoming a successful athlete. Motivation can be defined as the direction and intensity of effort.
  • Motivation is very helpful in both learning and performance areas goals. The most successful people are those who are intrinsically motivated and continue to work hard towards reaching their goals.
  • Part of being successful comes from setting up reasonable long term goals and being motivated to work towards those goals.
  • Course: Creativity 
  • Researchers and psychologists distinguish between two different types of thinking, convergent and  divergent thinking. Convergent thinking comes up with one answer for a question like “What’s the capital of New Mexico?” Divergent thinking encourages coming up with more than one possible solution for example, for a question like “Make a list of all tall objects?” Divergent thinking leads to creativity.
  • One of the main questions researchers in the field of creativity asked themselves is whether or not there is some sort of relationship between general intelligence of of an individual (as measured by  their performance on IQ test) and the level of their creativity. The researchers came to the conclusion that there is no particular relationship between creativity and intelligence. In other words the smartest people are not necessarily the most creative people. On the other side the most creative people in the world are not neccasrily the most creative.
  • Another interesting fact that researchers have learned is that compared to those with a high intelligence those with more creativity are more likely to be successful in many different areas of their lives.

Course: Adolescence:

  • Many people think of the time period of adolescence as being our teenage years. However there is actually no set time period for adolescence. Adolescence starts from the first signs of puberty and there is no set ending period of adolescence.
  • In this day and age children are reaching puberty and becoming adolescence at a younger age and the period of adolescence can last well into the 20’s.Badically adolescence can last longer for some than for others.

New Post!!!

As-Salaam Alaikum! Hope your all doing well! As you may know I’m currently an undergraduate student studying Psychology. As I’m writing this, my one week Spring break has ended and classes have begun so I unfortunately won’t have much time to dedicate to this humble blog!

However, I really don’t want to completely abandon blogging so I have decided to try to share some of the interesting things that I learn with you on a regular basis Inshallah!

Currently I am taking three psychology courses titled Adolescence, Creativity, and Sports Psychology so my notes will focus on these three areas of psychology!

I hope you enjoy these and please don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for email updates!

Jaxakallah Khair for your support!!!

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As-Salaam Alaikum!

Inshallah you’re all doing well. As you may have noticed my humble blog looks a little different because I have moved the blog from its former Blogger platform to WordPress. I know that this blog is still far from perfect but Inshallah you like it! Since I am still very knew and unfamiliar to WordPress please forgive any issues!

Inshallah in the future I will update the blog with a better looking theme but for right now I am going to stick with this very basic free WordPress theme that I am currently using I know it’s not very pretty but it seems to be fairly functional on the desktop and mobile devices.

I would really appreciate it if you could please support me by subscribing to this humble blog for an email update whenever a new post is published! Thank you for your support!

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Study Tips for the Succesful Student

Being a successful student definitely requires a lot of hard work. Part of book-1247715_1280this hard work consist of studying for tests. In order to get the best grades possible it is really helpful to have some good studying strategies. The following is just a short list of possible study strategies to Inshallah help you earn the best grade possible.

Before Class:
Throughout my educational life many of my teachers and professors have encouraged the class to read the textbook before class. Many of us often ignore this piece of advice. However, I think that even if you don’t read the whole chapter or section of the textbook you should at least open up the textbook. Just try to scan the major topics by reading the title of each section.

Many textbooks have bolded or highlighted words and sections so try to briefly review those areas as well. All you have to do is get a basic idea of what topics will be discussed in class.

During Class:
I know that this sounds really obvious but try your best to really pay attention in class. If necessary, turn off your smartphone. Really try to absorb everything the instructor is saying. If you scanned the textbook the night before then you will hopefully be somewhat familiar with the topics.

Taking notes is essential. Many instructors nowadays have PowerPoint or other material that they can place on a screen for the whole class to view. However, these may not contain all the information or some areas may be rather vague. It is your job as a student to really take good notes. You don’t have to write every word down rather just try to get the main ideas. If the instructor does use PowerPoint quickly skim the slide and see what you don’t understand or what is missing and try to fill it in with what the instructor verbally states.

Many students at my university have laptops. I see quite a  number of students scrolling through their social media sites or their favorite online stores during lectures. If you do this on a regular basis you are truly doing a disservice to yourself. You could potentially miss out on valuable information that might be on the test. Also, if you’re a university student who has to pay for their education (as is the case here in the United States) you are literally wasting your money if you don’t pay attention in class.

After Class:
During the student orientation of my university one of the professors was giving us his study tips and one of the things that he said was: “The time you should start studying is immediately after class”. Although this may not be possible for everyone I think that he makes a very important point. You should definitely try to study as soon as possible when the material is still fresh in your mind.

Don’t Procrastinate:
Most students have several classes to study for. Undoubtedly some classes will be harder than others. However, it is very important that you set aside a specific amount of time dedicated to studying every day. Also, you can use your own judgment to decide how long you should study for each class. As a general rule for every hour of lecture you should study two hours outside of class during the whole week.
As a psychology major one of the things that I learned in my human memory course is that in order to best absorb the material it is not just enough to spend a lot of time reviewing the material. Rather, the best strategy is to spend frequent intervals of time studying the material. Basically, rather than studying for a test in one cram study session it is best to spread out your study time.

Break it into Pieces
Let’s say you have to memorize something like the periodic table for a test. It is very helpful to break it up and try to memorize a few columns or rows at a time. Each day make sure that you have really learned the previous days’ material before going on.

Reviewing Notes
While reviewing your notes it might be helpful to bring a few extra pieces of paper and a pen and start re-writing the most difficult parts of your notes. I have heard from many people who swear by this strategy. In fact, research does support this idea.

Avoid Distractions:
Try to sit an a quiet area. More importantly, do whatever you have to in order to avoid the large number of distractions that can arise from your smartphone. I understand that you cant just turn it off all the time but try keep it at a distance and only quickly check for calls or important texts at set intervals of time.

Chill Out
After a period of studying give yourself a break. Get a bite to eat. Try to get some fresh air. Try to do something that is truly relaxing for you.

Sleep
Whenever you have an exam coming up make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before. College students sometimes take pride in “pulling an all nighter”. They think that they have done something great by studying instead of sleeping. However, research has shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to a decrease in performance and an increase in stress.

Make Dua
Alhamdilillah as Muslims we are very blessed to always be able to turn to Allah (s.w.t). Personally, I make sure to study to the best of my ability and I try to put my trust in Allah (s.w.t). Before every test I recite Surah Fatiha once and Surah Ikhlas three times. If you’re interested in learning about some duas for studying click here .

Hard Work: The Key to Student Success

For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah . Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron. (Quran 13:11)

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This verse beautifully illustrates the importance of hard work by stating: “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
 
Of course, this beautiful verse applies to all aspects of our lives however, in this post let’s apply the concept of hard work to students. 
Personally, when others find out about my good grades, most often their immediate reaction is: “Oh you’re so smart”. Of course, I thank them and we move on. However, I honestly believe that almost anyone can improve their grades if they make a commitment to working hard and then follow through on that commitment. 

Of course, it’s hard to exactly define what hard work is because the definition varies from person to person. For example, some people are faster learners and thus they require less study time than others. Ultimately we all have different strengths and weaknesses. 
 
Although the definition of hard work can vary, by determining what our strengths and weaknesses are, we can move closer to our goal of improving our grades. Perhaps something that will help is to determine, if you don’t already know, what type of a learner you are. There are four major types of learners and you can learn more about them here. Learning about what type of a learner you are is very helpful because it will guide you on how you should study.
 
In this day and age technology is both a blessing and a curse for students. Our smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. can be a huge distraction because many students, including myself, can easily be tempted to check their devices while they are studying. It all starts out innocently, we tell ourselves: “I’ll only take a short break”. However, one thing leads to another and before we know it we have wasted a significant amount of valueable study time. 
 
However, if used correctly, technology can be a great study aide for students. If you don’t understand something all you have to do is search it on Google and your bound to find something. For those that our more visual learners YouTube and other services such as Khan Academy can be great resources.
 
One of the key’s to hard work is spending time towards studying and/or completing required assignments. There are times where you’d rather do anything than study for the subject you hate or maybe you’re tempted to play a video game or watch your favorite show however, you need to realize that sacrificing what you love in order to spend time studying is key to success. 
 
Becoming a better student requires hard work and the occasional sacrifice however, Inshallah if you do your part than you will reap the benefits.