Habits Die Hard
Who knew procrastination would be so helpful in the real world?
By Kristina Fernandez, Florida State University
College is a learning experience; freshmen arrive looking forward to making new friends, getting out of their parents’ house and finally having the kind of freedom that their teen-angst music said they needed.
College provides many opportunities for students to grow and explore new horizons. It’s healthy to push the boundaries. Students can develop some habits, though, that while they can be perceived as negative, are actually building blocks to being a better student.
In particular, nearly every student pulls all-nighters, procrastinates and occasionally skips class. All of these bad habits, though, help in creating a better student, and here’s how.
Procrastinating is the most common of horrible practices. Each and every single college student has mastered the art of procrastination.
It is not the enemy if you learn how to harness it appropriately. Procrastinating helps you learn time management. After a while, you will understand that some things can wait until later, and others cannot. Some people need this sense of urgency in order to complete tasks.
Unnecessary tasks disappear with procrastination, so you will only focus on the things that are vital. Getting rid of all the little chores that fill up your to-do list can make your work load more manageable. In some situations, you have to get creative. If you have a massive project coming up, it’s normal to hold off on doing the daunting assignment, but in the time you were not completing the project, you may have been thinking about it and developing ideas on how to tackle it successfully.
Procrastinating is a form of speedy prioritizing. If you are in a time crunch and have to get a certain number of things done quickly, naturally, you will organize the most important assignments and work your way down. Breaking down tasks by order of importance will keep you aware of the work and help you finish it.
2. Skipping Class
Skipping class if often frowned upon, but not here. Occasionally relieving yourself from class actually teaches you time management. You are learning how you want to spend your time. Sometimes, you do not want to go to class and feel like taking a mental health day. Go ahead, just make sure you work within your allotted amount of excused absences, or else you will have other things to worry about.
What if you had a paper you really needed to finish, but getting it done required you to stay home and work on it instead of going to class? Obviously, you would choose to skip that day and get your work done; that is, of course, if nothing significant is going on in class. Missing a day or two of class is fine; it’s like a mini vacation.
Yes, you should go to class, but missing a couple here and there will not kill you. Plan out the days you want to miss, but make sure to leave one in reserve in case you get sick. Do not be one of those kids who never shows up to class and then has a bunch of questions for the professor, who is confused because he has never seen you before in his entire life.
Another bad trait gone good is pulling all-nighters. Avoiding sleep to work on an assignment or study for a test displays commitment. Your relentless work ethic will not be stopped, not even for sleep. Sure, there are studies saying all-nighters are counterproductive, but more often than not, they work in your favor.
Staying up all night is a test of pure strength and will power. It depends on your mindset; if you think you’re staying up through the night and grinding while everyone else is asleep, you are doing it right. You want to believe that you are doing the work no one else will do.
It is probably best not to pull all-nighters every night, but when they are necessary, break out the coffee, and crack open that book. You will learn your limits as far as studying goes. College requires you to push yourself farther than you have before, so it only makes sense that you try your hand at studying through the night.
Next, partying builds social skills because you are able to meet new people. Maybe some are in your class, or you will encounter them later in your college career, which may come in handy. Basically, being social and networking can be a major plus in succeeding in school.
You always hear about those students who met someone and got an amazing job out of it. Go out and meet people. Some students need the release of going out on the weekends, but they will spend their weeks grinding it out. By the weekend, they deserve to go out with their group and dance to their favorite songs.
In the end, bad habits are not really bad after all; they are potential motivations to push you forward to achieving success in college. Your mindset is the key to how you will perform in your classes.
If you believe you are falling behind because you procrastinate too much or did not give an assignment enough attention, move forward and try again on the next assignment. If the bad habits do not teach you how to be a better student, then you may be stuck in a rut. Use what you know in order to succeed. Pull an all-nighter thinking of ways to better yourself.