February 10, 2011 Volume CXXIX Issue 3

Student stops procrastination

Staff Writer

This week I will argue that we benefit by completing our class assignments ahead of time. Following that, I will suggest some methods for making a conscious step out of habit-driven procrastination.

We students are presented with a golden opportunity to live the life of a scholar, to learn and to grow intellectually for a few years, unrestricted by the demands of career and (usually) family that will characterize many of our later lives. Excluding the few who work an inordinate number of hours at a job off-campus, after classes are accounted for, we are left with a vast amount of time on our hands. Unfortunately, the culture among many is to fritter away that wealth of time with inane things ranging from video games to television to ‘social networking,’ all of which can be reduced to a mode of procrastination.

Regardless of how it occurs, the tendency to procrastinate means that we put off the work of a scholar by neglecting to approach our assignments in a deliberate and timely fashion. Procrastination is a habit of subconscious repression of the knowledge that there is work that must, or at least should, be done. In recalling my article from last week on ‘distracted anticipation,’ we can see how we are surrounded with a number of things that lure us into the lulling embrace of mindless entertainment. This mindlessness lulls us such that we realize hours later and only a short while before class starts that we have yet to read or write an essay or answer questions or perform whatever work was assigned.

I submit to you, the readers, that engaging work ahead of time is not only more rewarding, but it is also possible to complete assigned work in a timely fashion, the catch being that we remove the possibility of distraction and subsequent opportunities to procrastinate. As far as rewards go, it is quite clear that in the case of reading assignments it is always better if (1) I get to read all of the material fully, rather than skimmingly, (2) I complete the reading with enough time to spend a few hours thinking about it before class, perhaps rereading more difficult sections and (3) if I read with a significant bit of time before the class, I can discuss the ideas with friends and acquaintances, exchanging ideas and engaging the text long before I ever even step into the classroom. That is by no means an exhaustive list of the rewards that accompany timely diligence, but they serve to show that we can get so much more out of the time spent with our professors if we faithfully perform our work as a student before we ever reach the classroom.

Now to address methods. We often fritter away our time, putting off our work, and justify our procrastination subconsciously with the thought that that our work will take a big block of time and we can get to it later, because we have lots of other, smaller things to do at the moment. Yes, it simply will be the case that some assignments will take a good chunk of time to complete, but they often can be executed more efficiently if we implement a few practices to ward off procrastination. When I have reading to do: (1) If it is a hard copy, I go somewhere away from my computer to read, removing myself completely from the temptation of checking e-mail or news. (2) If I must be on the computer to work but do not have to use the internet, I unplug the ethernet cable (or turn off my wireless); for the first week of doing so, I was surprised at the number of times I tried to log in to check e-mail. In any situation where I sit down to work, I always make sure to have my phone put away, either off or set to ‘silent,’ because the reality is that the occasions are rare when I am expecting a phone call that cannot wait for at least a couple hours.

With a few tweaks of our daily schedule, and some conscious steps to defend against being sucked into the subconscious habits of procrastination, we can move into a frame of life that allows us to live as a scholar should, engaging our work in a way that deepens our intellect and enriches our lives. With this orientation, we can take a step onto the path of living as a full-time scholar. Questions or comments? Contact the author: tadams1@georgetowncollege or through campus mail, box #385.

Singles enjoy Valentine’s, too

Copy Editor

Single people do not have to purchase gifts or make elaborate plans on Valentine’s Day.

It’s coming, and there’s nothing we can do about it. In four short days, we will inevitably find ourselves surrounded by some type of cheap red, pink and white novelty decorations, cuddly couples or the smell of roses in the air at some point in that 24-hour span.

Some call it Valentine’s Day, while some are forced to see it as something entirely different: Single’s Awareness Day. As an intelligent, independent and single twenty-something, I take issue with the depressing and mildly bitter lens through which many unattached individuals choose to view this day dedicated to romance. I, on the other hand, ever the optimist, choose to reflect upon the positive implications of my present relationship status as it relates to this holiday.

First, I do not feel obligated to buy anyone a gift to show my affection. I don’t have to spend hours deciding which gift is just right for my significant other, something they will cherish as a token of our devotion for years to come, nor must I have the anxiety of the possibility that they will hate my gift, crushing my spirit and making me question just how right we are for each other. Not to mention the money I will save. Lucky me only has to spend about three dollars on a pack of Wal Mart Valentines and send them to my friends, the only real exertion on my part being looking up their mailbox numbers and writing them on the cards.

Not only do I not need to stress about buying a perfect gift, but I don’t have to worry about going on the perfect Valentine’s Day outing. Many people in relationships feel the need to do something special on February 14, something that is out of the norm and will be completely memorable. My brain begins to hurt as I think about the pressure. Us single people, however, can plan a great outing of our own. It doesn’t have to be anything extra special, but I guarantee it will be memorable. Last year, my single friends and I went out for dinner and saw “Wolfman.” No need for a sappy chick flick, and fun was had by all.

Finally, I think it is imperative to keep in mind that Valentine’s Day is about love, but there are many kinds of love, not just romantic. As a single person, you can show your love to everyone you care about without making anyone jealous, and you should try your best to do so to everyone that is important to you. As I mentioned before, I will be sending my friends cards. Cheesy? Maybe. But everyone loves getting mail and I take the time to do it because I like reminding those people that I appreciate them. Call your parents, siblings, grandparents or other close relatives and say hello. Volunteer somewhere; it is also important to show strangers that someone cares about them as well.

If you are single this Valentine’s Day, don’t sit in your room, watch sad movies and eat profuse amounts of chocolate all by yourself. Be proud, not ashamed of that line in the info section of your Facebook profile. You have plenty more Valentine’s Days to cuddle with the love of your life, but your time as a vibrant, young single may be fleeting. You have lots of love to give, and there are plenty of people out there to share it with.


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