Fasting Through Finals: Students Observe Ramadan

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Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims in commemoration of the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, practiced worldwide as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During Ramadan, Muslims may eat before dawn and after sunset, but do not eat or drink during the day. This year, Ramadan begins on May 15, and many UW Tacoma students are therefore fasting during finals. We spoke to Rania Elbasiony, a junior in Law and Policy, about observing Ramadan while managing the stresses of the end of school year.

What is it like to fast during finals?

“Headaches every single day! The further you get into Ramadan, the easier it gets. Your appetite gets smaller, so you aren’t as hungry. You get used to it. But when it comes to studying or doing homework, using too much brain power really drains your energy. It’s easy when you sleep or watch Netflix, but when it comes to finals, it’s pretty hard.”

When is best to study?

“We start our work after we break fast at night. That’s when we start our homework and study, because doing it before that we can’t even concentrate and get migraines. I’ll try to start an hour before I break fast, so it’s not too much. It definitely has its pros and cons – it’s good to experience, it’s good to build the self-restraint, but it takes a toll on your body.”

What do you do when Ramadan is over?

“On Eid al-Fitr, the day after Ramadan ends, that’s when there’s a morning prayer when everybody gets together. Sometimes we’ll go down to Owens Beach when the sun’s rising. We’ll have an Eid party, or rent a place and invite everybody – it’s like our Christmas.”

In this way, fasting teaches gratitude. Rania says, “As hungry and tired as we get, we have food to look forward to at the end of the day while many others don’t have that luxury.”

Ramadan Mubarak to all in the UWT community that are observing Ramadan – and good luck to everyone with finals!