“..Say: is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Or is the darkness equivalent to the light?…”. Surat Al-Rad, ayah 16.

You’ve declined every invitation to a party or a wedding, stuck to a strict studying schedule on the weekends, and wake up early every morning in order to be the best student that you can imagine. However, once grades come out, you are disappointed that not only did you not perform as well as you had liked, but a group of students who you know have been hanging out and partying received same or better grades than you.   This is not the first time, in fact, this pattern has been repeating itself. You attend every 8 AM lecture and study the material covered in class everyday, while some people sleep in, skip class, and cram. At the end of the semester, when you realize that you all received similar grades, it seems like you wasted your time while they had the same result, but with much more enjoyment. However, things are not always as they seem, and if you are thinking that way, then it’s definitely time to change your perspective!

First, being a dedicated student is never a waste of time. You are forming learning habits that will aid you throughout your career, in which you should be as well organized and efficient with your time as possible. The early bird catches Fajr and gets all the baraka, so do not ever think that those who sleep in and are catching a few extra dozes are ahead of you. You’re fresh and ready to start the day, which is great practice for those long residency rotations in which you’ll have 3 hours of sleep and will be expected to be on call. You snooze, you lose.

Also, the fact that you make a schedule and adhere to it is a good prediction to how well you will manage your time as a physician. You need to be able to balance both your work and your personal life, so the more you practice those skills the better you can fine tune them and the more prepared you will be for your profession. Maintaining good study habits is a valuable skill that will aid you when studying for boards as well. Everyone knows that procrastinating and cramming are not the way to go, and if it works once or twice, it won’t always work. Long term memory is what you need in order to keep all that information organized in your mental files; earning it quickly in a short period of time may help you ace tomorrow’s exam, but you won’t be able to recall any of it by next week. Also, as a medical student, you must be able to choose when you can relax and enjoy yourself and when you need to buckle down and hit the books. Those who are used to “having a good time” every time will find it extremely difficult to give up their activities for a few solid months in order to prepare for one of the most important exams in their career.

Do not ever believe that those who are having the time of their lives are the successful ones. They may seem like geniuses that need only a few hours to study to score an A one every exam, but in reality, they’re only harming themselves. By keeping yourself organized and maintaing the status of a dedicated student, you are one step ahead of them in building your professional career. They will struggle to perform tasks that will seem effortless to you, even if their GPA was a bit higher than yours. Are the blind and the seeing the same? Are the light and darkness equal? Can you compare the heavens and the earth? So why should you consider committed students and lazy ones to be equal?