If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you know is a lot like how I used to be. When I was in high school, I was a master procrastinator. Some people talk about how they barely finished their assignment the night before … Well, my homework was always saved till the day it was due — usually either at 4 a.m., or, more often than not, the period before it was to be handed in. However, once you get to college, you will quickly realize, like I did, that this “skill” is actually a very bad habit. After years of practice and usage, it can be quite difficult to rid yourself of the procrastination bug, but I did it, and so can you. (Trust me on this.)
Cure your case of senioritis
If you’re just entering college as a freshman, then please reread this line:
Note: YOU ARE A FRESHMAN.
It may be hard, just coming out of your senior year, to latch onto this mindset at first. It’s a rude awakening, since you haven’t been a freshman in four years. Acceptance is the first step to breaking yourself out of procrastination. The bad habit grew and festered in high school, finally reaching its Maximum Level in your senior year, when finally you could write an at-least-average essay, ready to be handed in, within a single class period. Now, though, as a freshman in a new school, it’s time for your rebirth. That devil-may-care attitude, adopted by so many seniors who are ready to just be done with school, no longer applies to you. You must realize that you are not actually done with school, and you have to focus and do your best work for another few years.
Stay up to date with your assignments
Unlike in high school, your college professor will hand you a syllabus on your first day, which tells you exactly how your class will proceed for the rest of the semester. It also lists each and every one of the assignments you will be expected to complete and hand in. Typically, your professor will make little to no mention of these assignments in class for the rest of the semester, but will expect you to keep track of what you need to do. So, if you don’t stay up to date, you could forget to do your homework, and be faced with having nothing to hand in to your professor when he/she calls for it to be collected. And this is important: In high school, you may have been able to miss a few assignments with no severe penalties or grade changes, but in college, just a couple missed tasks and you could receive a failing mark for the whole class. To avoid this, keep a notebook, check list, daily planner or digital calendar in which you list each day’s assignments. That way, you can keep track of your tasks for each class, without being overwhelmed by all the syllabuses. Check them off or cross them out as you complete them, and you’ll feel like you’re making real progress!
Do tasks in order
To avoid the chance of assignments sneaking up on you, make sure you include the due dates of each task on your list/planner. That way, you can see exactly when everything is due, in relation to everything else. Complete the assignments with the closest due dates first, and then the later ones. Don’t skip your History essay due Wednesday just because you feel like doing the easy Spanish handout due next week! Wednesday will arrive before you know it, and you’ll have to rush to get that paper done.
Do your homework right away
After a long day of classes, homework is probably the last thing you want to do. But think about this: If you do your work as soon as you can, and get it done during the week, your weekend will be completely open for you to have fun. Not only that, but, while you’re hanging out with your friends or family, you won’t have your unfinished class assignments haunting you in the back of your mind. Also, if you’re not stressed and rushed when you’re doing your assignments, the quality of work will be much better. As much as you think you might, you do not work better under pressure. Trust me on that.
The things that I have listed may not work for everyone. They’re just what helped me to better manage my time and handle my work. The key is just to avoid causing yourself unnecessary stress, and to give yourself as much free time as possible. It’s always said that college students have too much stress and not enough time, but I believe that’s merely a result of the bad choices some student make when handling work, school and free time. Procrastination is a bad choice, not just for school, but for your whole life. Keep yourself out of the stereotype by making the right choices.
Check out more helpful resources like this one in our Dorm Room Care Package.