I’ll be the first to admit that I am a procrastinator at times. Usually on Sunday nights, I tell myself that I am going to get all of my homework done early in the week so that I don’t have to worry about rushing to get it finished on time. Then, Monday comes, and I decide to play tennis instead of working on that paper that is due the next week. When Tuesday rolls around, I simply cannot do homework because Student Government Association (SGA) meetings are at 8:00, and then I HAVE TO watch Dance Moms afterwards. Wednesday usually consists of a night class for me, and I’m so tired that I just have to go to bed, so I usually end up doing everything on Thursday and Friday night instead of going out with friends because I have procrastinated.
Please take my advice. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE REGULARLY! It’s really not worth it. I cannot stress enough how important using your time wisely is in college. It took me basically my whole freshman year to figure this out, and I think I got worse during the middle of my sophomore year as I became more involved on campus. It’s so easy to just say that you will do your homework later, but, honestly, you probably won’t feel like doing it later anymore than you do at that moment. The only thing that procrastinating really does is add stress to your life, and you don’t want that in college.
The sad thing is that procrastinating can become a very bad habit quickly, and it is probably the bad habit that gets most college students in trouble. When you move to college, it isn’t like high school at all. Your parents aren’t going to be there to make you do your homework, and your professors most likely will not have any sympathy on you for procrastinating. Most professors are very understanding when you have a legitimate excuse. However, if you don’t turn your homework in because you just forgot to do it or you kept putting it off, then you will fail that assignment. That’s just how it is in college. The professors expect you to act like an adult because, well, you are one!
With that being said, here are a fee things to that you can do to stay motivated and get your work done on time.
1. Make a to-do list for the week. Write down any assignments that are due during the week at the very top, so you will know what needs to be done first. Anytime a professor gives you a new assignment, add it onto your to-do list. For me, it is easier to keep up with this in my iPhone with the Reminders app so I can just pull out my phone as soon as class is over and put in any new assignments. Keeping a planner is a great idea if you don’t have a smart phone. I still keep a planner as well. All LMU students will be provided with an LMU planner for free, and these are available in the Student Services Office.
2. Set aside a time for homework every week. If you know that you are going to have a certain night off, it’s good to designate that as “homework/study time.” Sometimes I just have to study whenever I have a chance, but I usually try to plan ahead for study time when I know I have a big exam coming up. If you don’t have a lot of time, try to pick out the most important things and highlight them in your book and/or notes, so you will be able to quickly review the main concepts right before the test.
3. Eliminate as many distractions as possible when studying. This is the biggest problem that I have. I get distracted by the smallest things, and then it takes me a long time to be able to focus again. When you live in an apartment with five other people, distractions are inevitable. If your roommates are noisy while you are trying to study, politely ask them to be a little quieter so that you can study. If this doesn’t work, the LMU library has several quiet areas and study rooms for student use.
4. Study with classmates. If you are having problems staying motivated, holding a study group with people who are in your class can help. Study groups are also a great way to make friends and get help with something if you are struggling. Sometimes your classmates can provide an insight into something that you might have missed during lecture.
5. Create a reward system for good study habits. If all else fails, sometimes bribery is necessary. Set a goal that you want to accomplish and establish a reward for yourself for finishing it. I have to do this all the time. I usually try to choose something like, “If I study for two hours, I can go play tennis for an hour.” Pick something that will really motivate you. I personally would prefer not to use junk food as a motivator, but if that’s what it takes, then go for it! This might seem a little extreme, but there is a reason that teachers give little gold stars to their students in elementary school. Sometimes it takes an extrinsic reward to get yourself motivated, and there is nothing wrong with that.
6. Don’t stay up late studying. It is best to try and study during the day instead of staying up until 3 a.m. I have honestly never pulled an all-nighter because I believe that it is completely non-beneficial. I cannot retain information if I am sleepy. Cramming for an exam the night before is a very bad idea. A better approach is to study three or four days before the test and break things up into sections. If you try to memorize everything the night before, you probably aren’t going to remember it, and you will be exhausted during the test. There’s no point in studying all night and then not being able to get up to take the test.
Good study habits are the key in college. Although it might take you a while to find a routine that works for you, putting forth the extra effort will pay off in the end. Don’t let procrastination become a problem like I did. Honestly, I have been procrastinating for about a week on this blog post about procrastination. I’m pretty sure that’s a sign that you really need help. This is kind of one of those topics where you have to do as I say and not as I do because procrastination can really be a big problem for me. LMU Mallory can tell you plenty of stories about my procrastination habits, like the time that I decided to cover her entire bed in sticky notes instead of doing my homework or when we went on a photography adventure around campus instead of studying! It’s so easy to fall into the habit. I really do plan on taking my own advice during this next semester and trying to stay on top of things as much as possible. I hope this helps you stay motivated and organized! As always, email me if you have more questions about life at LMU. I promise not to procrastinate on answering your questions! ;)