Finals Week and the Day of Reckoning


Did finals week ever reminded you of the day you will stand before your lord where your sins and good deeds will be revealed and where you will get your book of deeds (hopefully in the right hand). It always reminded me, even though this is probably the 10th time I experience a finals week (not including high school or below). Honestly, earlier today I thought to some degree or another everybody saw the link between finals and the Day of Judgment so I asked somebody. They told me that they never made the link and asked what the link is. This caught me off-guard and put me on the defensive and I then thought about it. Is it because I am more religious (or try to get closer to Allah) during this period.  Is it because one remembers how stupid he is for procrastinating during the semester? Is it because it symbolizes the end of something (semester, of course) or because you are soon to be graded on your efforts? You probably noticed that these questions are not mutually exclusive and probably each one applies to a certain degree depending on the individual. For me, I know that I get closer to Allah and I consider it a blessing. Yet it worries me, because I should be getting closer to Allah all the time and I should be asking for his favor and help all the time and should worship and praise him all the time. [Yes, I know I used too many ands in the previous questions and that probably not grammatically correct, but it sounds better so let’s continue with the program]. I also know that these tests are not only tests for courses but also tests on my relationship with God. It is easy to remember God when you need him. The procrastinating question also applies to me  and some others that I will not elaborate here on (but will love to in the comments section if you are interested).

Actually the intent of this article is not to converse about what finals week means to you and if it reminds of the Day of Reckoning but an opportunity for me to share a story and lesson that I learned that happened on finals week and is related to the Day of Reckoning. The story starts about 10 days ago on a Sunday morning. My statistics project was due in a week (next Monday) and while it was tight schedule, I knew I could manage it. This project was like no other, I was giving 6 random (from my point of view) datasets and I had to build a model, get predictions for them and then estimate how far off I am (it is actually the estimating of the Sum of Square of the Error (difference between Y and Y-predicted) and it is somewhat more complex because we were not given Y). Sounds straight forward, except when your professor intentionally adds complexities to the data that will generate bad models unless you fix these complexities. Back to Sunday, I open up my first data set and run a program and get a bad model. I play with it for a bit and then give up and spend the rest of the day watching videos on youtube. On Monday, I open it again, play with the data some more, get stuck and  frustrated, give up and end up watching videos. Same thing happens on Tuesday and Wednesday with each day I spent more time on the project (but same results). On Wednesday night, when I finally gave up (from watching videos), I left my office and tried to unlock my bike. The lock was stuck and one of the wheels was frozen to the ground. That was the fateful very cold night (below -2) when I had to walk home and think about Gaza (remember the earlier post) and how frustrated I was about my statistics project. That was also the night when I sincerely thanked God for his blessings and also prayed that I will have a breakthrough in Statistics.

On Thursday, I open the project and start working on it. Soon enough, I am stuck, but this time instead of giving up I prayed to my Lord that I will be able to finally have a break through. Suddenly, I heard a ring tone and tada there was a gmail chat box open from a dear friend of mine asking how I was. I told him and asked him to make duaa(prayer)  and I made some more. Suddenly,  five minutes later the trumpets of victory began ringing (or is it sounding). Well not really, but yes after five minutes from the duaa my vision cleared, everything fell into place and I finally was able to complete my dataset. I also completed another two datasets that same day. The morale of the story: wait because I am not done.

Friday came, I finished two more sets and got stuck on the last one, also I started looking at the second part of the project and it was starting to look hard. ***the dark clouds were approaching*** (not sleeping for 19 hrs makes you very theatrical). The time came for Isha and this time I decided to go pray in the masjid. Due to some reason or another, I was running late and I knew I would not reach the masjid in time if I walked. So I tried the lock on my bike and it opened (note that I tried to open it the same morning and it would not budge) and I was able to zoom past the cars (well crowds of people) and catch all four rakats (the units of prayer). Allah Akbar, I felt great as I was coming back to my office and I felt that I finally learnt my lesson (the bike was evidence in itself) so I got distracted and watched some more videos and that night I dreamt something that ….

The rest of the story will be completed by the end of this weekend. I know you can accuse me of procrastination (by not completing the story) and I will reply with “patience is a virtue that only the most religious achieve” (so be patient).

Also, 19 hrs of lack of sleep is probably having a negative/positive effect (multiple choice question) on the overall story and moral. I at least want the moral of the story to be serious and more organized.

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