The Fall Challenge has now ended. However, we’re so pleased by the relationships we’ve built with participants through LSP that we wanted to continue on in the spirit of community discussion. This week, Class 10 Siddeeq Public School student and LSP 2015 and 2016 (Summer Challenge) winner Yusra Nadir walks us all through a ‘Day in her Life’, which includes TV, studying, sleeping and praying. 

Thanks Yusra for this blog post! 



By Yusra Nadir

Teachers, students and the parents of students have been questioning me on my study routine, my time table and my memory technique etcetera for years. They always hit me with the same question on every parent teacher conference, every result day, every time I go out with my friend, “What do you DO?”

I laugh and smile and nod along and say, “A magician never reveals his secret.”

“What secret?” I think in my head, while nodding slowly and smiling, waiting for this awkward conversation to end because the mother is now looking at my friend with a look that says “Why can’t you be more like her?” And my friend is looking at me with a look that says “Kill me now.”

My friends are less polite in asking this question. They’ll say something like, “Itni bari nerd hai yeh, pata nhi krti kya hai?” Or “Do you have photographic memory?” Or something likeDo you even do anything other than drown your head in a book? Do you even watch TV? Do you even listen to music? Do you even know how to have fun?”

And the answers to those questions are as follows:

  1. My friends think I’m being cocky, proud or over-confident when I say this: I do nothing out of the ordinary. Absolutely nothing. If you found out how boring my life is you’d be ready to shoot something.
  2. My friends find themselves bewildered when I say that not only do I have way more fun in my life than they do, I listen to more music, I watch more TV, and I’m a bigger film-nerd than anyone else they know. Their immediate response is to say I’m lying. I say I’m not. An argument ensues, that almost always end up with them saying prove it.




I’ll prove it.

Here is an honest to God description of what exactly I do before every test.

The Day Before

The day before the weekly assessment comes as the hour of doom for some, but for me, it comes as an opportunity to overcome sleep deprivation. I wake up as usual when my alarm goes off at 5.30. I offer my prayers and after I’m done, I spend a minute arguing with myself whether or not I should go back to sleep. The end of that argument is always me convincing myself that whatever I had planned to do early in the morning is inconsequential and that sleep is the best option.

I wake up the second time at 11.45. The day is half spent and outside is the call for prayer and I think, “Damn. Should’ve woken up earlier.”

No worries. I go downstairs and eat “breakfast”( which is basically brunch at this point) and waste some of my time checking facebook, watching youtube videos….

It’s now 12.30 and I’ve eight subjects left to prepare. It’ll be fine.

Fast forward to 6.15 and all I’ve done is 3 subjects: Physics, Chemistry and Biology. With 5 subjects to go and barely 6 hours till midnight, I pick up the pace. I decide that an overlook of Mathematics is enough to get me through, while Islamic Studies…. *scoff* piece of cake.

Fast forward to 10.03, my mother is calling me for dinner and I still have 3 subjects to go. I haven’t even touched English all week. I decide it’s best for me to go downstairs and eat some dinner and come back and study with a fresh mind. Downstairs, my sister sucks me in a conversation about some new FX show she loves. I glance at the clock and OH MY GOD, IT’S ELEVEN.

I go back to studying really needing to pick up the pace now. I do the work, I thought was worth 2 hours, in an hour and I think, “Hmph. I don’t know what I was getting all worked up for.”

I offer my prayers, vowing to wake up early in the morning to prepare some problems of maths and  pray to God that somehow the coordinators take mercy on me and make the assessment easier and go to sleep.

The next day, I go to school, give my tests and while everyone else is thinking that the tests were hard, all I’m thinking is what I’ll do when I go home.

The day ends and I go home and watch the “new FX show my sister loves,” People V. OJ Simpson.

So now, tell me, friends?

Why do you still think I have a secret for doing things? You think I’ve photographic memory? You still think I have some divine blessing or something?

  No. I’ll tell you what ‘the big secret’ is:


When I study, I don’t think about anything else except that. When I study I don’t think about my favorite TV show, my favorite musician, my favorite film or my favorite book. And it may seem as if all the good students have it best and that they don’t work hard and that they have it easy, when the very idea that we don’t work hard is preposterous.  We do work hard; we work hard long hours in the day and even longer in the night. The only thing that separates the good students from the not-so-good is the passion. So if the mothers of my friends want to know what the secret is: it’s not banning myself from technology or fun, nor is it the carefree attitude. The secret is passion.

 “To be a great motorbike racer, the most important thing is passion for the bike.”

 It is simply impossible to achieve anything, ANYTHING, if you take it as chore.  The only way to ensure one’s success in any endeavor is to strike it head on, to not take it up unless you know you’ll give it your best shot, to believe in yourself that you are just as capable to handle the job as anyone else, to just relax when the pressure gets too high and to have such incredible passion for whatever you’re doing that

God will ascertain from you, “What is your will?”

Plus, just chill. You got this.