Among college students, procrastination is an issue that is both common and serious (a bad combination), so this week we at the Academic Center for Excellence offer two popular strategies for heading-off procrastination before it starts—strategies that will get you motivated and started on that big task TODAY, rather than that tempting, sweet-sounding, yet oh-so-troublesome period of time we call “later.”
Find a Place to Study Here on Campus. This cures so many people of the procrastination bug because it solves many issues at once. By studying on campus, you not only provide yourself with a quiet place to work during your most-alert hours, but you are also keeping temptation out of your path. (You may have noticed the shortage of TVs and X-Boxes in the library.) Plus, it’s hard to receive that willpower-testing phone call from your friends—“C’mon, let’s go out”—when your phone can’t even get a signal in the bunker-like study hole you’ve found in the basement of BSB. As an added bonus for those of you who live off campus, studying on campus means there is very little chance you’ll get roped into doing those dishes.
Tie Your Schedule to Someone Else’s. The pursuit of a higher education is often a lonely one, and this can cause some issues, because “Well, no one is checking to see that I read that biology chapter tonight, so…” (Don’t feel bad. We’ve all said these words.) When studying alone for many hours on end, it is easy to become convinced that the rest of the world is out dancing and having fun, while you sit alone, buried in books. “The world is going on without me!” you think and shudder. So you resolve, “I’ll just start my project tomorrow,” and the next thing you know, you are reaching for those dancing shoes. This is where having your study schedule tied to a friend’s can help. Agree to meet a friend after dinner at CCC or the Library, and studying will suddenly seem like a livelier exercise. Just knowing that someone is waiting for you in the library will be enough to get you through the revolving door. Then, once you are inside, you’ll realize that the rest of the world isn’t out dancing—many people you know are sitting right there and like you, hitting the books. This makes studying look a little better. Now, you and your study mates are the ones “going somewhere.” (And as for those folks out at the club, at least you’ll know where to find them in ten years.) One optional extra: If you and your study mates agree to have certain tasks completed by the time you meet, this can help curb any procrastination during the hours leading up to the mutual study session. Hey, human beings are social by nature, and college students, whatever else they are, are still human beings. So why fight it, folks? When it comes to a heavy studying load, you’re surely not alone, and it’s good to see that with your own eyes on a regular basis.
Next week we’ll be sharing some ACE test-taking wisdom. In the meantime, have a productive week, and remember to have a little fun this weekend. Patrick Koerner
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