What I Learned From My Arab Roommate Who Got Straight As

Arab world view, life tactics, and business strategies

I was in my 3rd year, the first semester had just kicked off. For me, this was not an ordinary semester. This was a semester to make a difference.

This was after accumulating not so good grades in the past two academic years.

My goal was to get straight As. The problem was I didn’t know where to start.

The previous semester I had broken up with my girlfriend thinking it will help me better my grades but it didn’t. A fresh semester and a fresh academic year was another opportunity to keep trying.

I had a great friend, a classmate, and a brother. He was an Arab from the Middle East and used to get straight As ever since we were freshmen.

As of all good friends, without telling him he somehow knew what I was struggling with and what I wanted to achieve.

He was in a position to help as he was already getting straight As. One day when we were hanging out he made a suggestion.

“ Come live with me, you can stay at my place. You will be closer to the uni and I will also help you with your studies.”

His place was closer to the uni than mine.

It all made sense and all he wanted was to help. So I accepted.

Within two years, this is what I learned from him, getting straight As and about life.

1. Family is business

After I moved in, on a random day when we were hanging out, he said this to me:

“Bro! If my parents were spending as much as your parents are spending on your education and I failed to take straight As home, they would slaughter me.”

That statement hit me and made me rethink a lot of stuff but it all narrowed down to being a better human and being responsible.

They definitely wouldn’t slaughter him but this shows you how they take matters seriously.

He later explained that from their family setting and how he was brought up, if you consume or bring expenses you should produce or bring results. This is irrespective of whether you are working or you are a student. Basically, you have to succeed and there is no other way.

His father was a mogul and you could clearly see where this is coming from. He was brought up in a business world and instilled life and business principles from a young age.

As for me, my parents were regular employees and I was brought up in an ordinary family setting. Whether I worked hard or not it was all on me. My parent fulfilled their role and that was it.


View life as a business. It is a business for sure. Every form of transaction or interaction has its own form of gains and losses.

If you start viewing life as a business and seeing losses and gains in what you do, you are more likely to maximize the gains.

For every expense (even time) make sure there is a gain.

2. Have your worry way sooner

What this basically means is start worrying about the things you should do way further from the deadline or way further from the last minute.

It was a biotech degree. In a typical week, we would have 7 to 15 tasks to submit, sometimes more. This included assignments and lab reports.

These tasks could mainly be done in the evening, at night, or on weekends. During the day we were mostly occupied with lectures and lab sessions.

I was the kind of guy who mostly did his stuff prior to the last minute and at times the last minute its self.

With him in control, we were doing all our tasks the day the tasks are given and if we fail to do that for any particular reason, the tasks had to be completed days before the submission day.

This trait continued throughout our academic progress. We were attached to the same research institute. I remember we were always the first to arrive in the morning.


Worry sooner, not later. Don’t just worry, take action.

This is a trait that is also observed by some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time—Bill Gaits, Elon Musk, and others.

Every CEO should have this trait, we all know how moving fast and making fast decisions can impact a company and how delayed decisions can be detrimental. If you don’t understand think Nokia!

3. No zero days

This is something that he told me his rich father taught him

It doesn’t matter whether it's 30 minutes or 2 hours. Absolutely no zero days.


Every day you should set some time to work on your goal.

Even in your worst days, always set some time. This is the only way to guarantee that you will attain your goal.

A missed day is a missed opportunity to reach your goal.

4. No crazy optimization

Life was normal. He even had a girlfriend while I didn’t!

Life was not just normal but fun. We went for road trips and had a hella lot of fun but those As never stopped coming.


For grades and academic success, optimization is not a must but it can be good.

If you have fun with healthy friends, this is likely to give you more energy to push to your goals.

The business world is tougher than the school world. Whether you are a freelancer, a sole proprietor, or an entrepreneur. Optimization is necessary.

You need to have your days planned and have the awareness to focus on the most important things. This can’t be done at once, it’s a process. Start with a daily to-do list.

Too much of anything is poisonous so is too much optimization. Like what I did, breaking up with my girlfriend. That was unwise. It’s not like I want her back just reflections.


Let us not shy away from giving others a hand. Goodness is rewarded by goodness. One good deed stirs another good deed and the cycle continues. The world becomes a better place.

I hope you implement what you’ve learned from this piece. All the best.

I write. My life purpose is to help others and positively impact the world. 😊

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