Procrastination is an issue many students struggle with. It is a familiar pattern and can be one of the most damaging.
The main keys to avoiding procrastination are organization and time management, but motivation might be the most important, said Colleen Clukey, counselor at South Puget Sound Community College and teacher of the How to Succeed in College course this fall.
“If you don’t recognize the value in what you’re doing, then you won’t be [motivated]. And that usually shows itself through procrastination,” she said.
According to Clukey, “you have to look at what your motivation is for being where it is that you are. If you’re procrastinating all the time you have to question whether or not you’re in the right place at the right time.”
Finding motivation can be tough, but it is important for success.
Brittney Hobart is a student at SPSCC who finds enough motivation to avoid procrastination.
“I don’t procrastinate because I feel it’s better to pace it out and get it done continually, starting as soon as it’s assigned, so I don’t have to rush it at the end,” she said.
For other students, staying on top of school work is harder to do.
“Usually what happens is one little thing that you procrastinate on snowballs into something else, which then of course snowballs into something else,” said Clukey.
From her experience as an instructor, Clukey knows that it doesn’t take very long for students to feel behind. She suggests that if a student is procrastinating or having any kind of trouble, they should speak with their professor right away.
Some students are too intimidated to speak with their professors. Professors are generally understanding and easy to talk to. Don’t be afraid to let them know what’s going on. They may even have tips for you to approach your struggles.
It can be pretty easy to procrastinate on homework. If you have trouble focusing on homework while at home, Clukey suggests scheduling about an hour between classes to do your work while on campus. If you have this time between classes, you are almost forced to do your work.
There are plenty of places to study on campus. Not everybody can study in the same type of environment, but there are various places for various needs.
The Student Union Building is a place for people who don’t mind a little extra noise. Not only are there tables and chairs, but there is a quiet study room, the Diversity and Equity Center, a computer room, as well as the Espresso Mia coffee stand.
The SUB is often filled with students and staff eating breakfast or lunch, playing ping-pong, or generally hanging out. The SUB is also host to many events. This can be very distracting for many students.
If a more quiet space is desired, the library is an excellent solution. The library is usually quiet and has lots of room to study. It also has computers, many research resources, and even a copy machine.
This is Hobart’s favorite place to study on campus.
“I like to study in the library because there are so many computers and opportunities to find the information that I need,” she said.
Fellow student Jeremy Watson also likes studying in the library, particularly the study rooms. “It’s more quiet, it’s more peaceful. I can concentrate more,” he said.
In addition to the library and SUB, SPSCC has other resources for studying. Most buildings on campus have tables, chairs, and couches that students can use to study. Building 22 is often empty and quiet and home to the Writing Center, which can help any student with their writing assignments.
The Math Center is located in building 32, where students can go for help with their math homework. The computer labs, located in building 34 in rooms 102, 103, and 105, are open for students and staff to work on assignments or print things out.
A useful tool to help students stay on track is to keep a calendar. Whether on paper, the Internet, or even a cell phone, a regularly checked calendar can help students stay on top of work. If you speak with any advisor or professor they will suggest that at the beginning of your classes, take your syllabus and put everything down in a calendar. This includes assignment due dates, test dates, and finals week.
“You can look at your calendar every day, and see what is due today or what’s going to be due a week ahead, depending on how you manage that,” said Clukey.
If you do find yourself lagging behind, take notice of what you need to do to catch up. You can look back on your calendar and make a list of everything you need to do. This can be very helpful, but Clukey urges to look at each task as an individual thing rather than looking at it as a whole. Looking at everything at once can be very overwhelming and stressful. Getting stressed might just put you back where you were.
Multitasking is also not advised.
“Most people just end up doing a whole bunch of things badly,” said Clukey.
Instead, she advises to relax, take things one at a time, and reward yourself along the way. Hopefully the satisfaction of finishing one thing will motivate you to move on to the next thing.
Late night cramming is a habit many students may also find themselves in. Some may think that it’s just a part of being in college, but it may not be beneficial. Ultimately, staying up all night and cramming before a test stresses you out and can shut you down.
Clukey suggests doing your work as you go along. “If you study a little bit, stay on top of things every single day, and take good notes and do your assignments…then you’ve got everything you need to prepare for a test.”
She also urges to study throughout the night before, do a quick review, get a good nights sleep.
How to succeed in college and strategies for succeeding in college classes are available each quarter.
How to Succeed in College is taught by Clukey and focuses more on the psychology of succeeding in college. Strategies for Succeeding in College teaches more about how to take good notes and similar tools.