Procrastination is both my best friend and my worst enemy. I cannot tell you how many times I've looked at my clock at 2 a.m. the day before a paper is due while I'm only on the second paragraph thinking, "Why did I do this to myself?". However, after I turn in the paper and get a relatively decent grade on it I fall back into the false sense of security of having enough time to do things and procrastination is okay.
This goes out to everyone (including myself). Procrastination is not worth the amount of pressure it puts on you. So many things can go so very wrong at the last second. In college, procrastinating has worse consequences than in high school. Your professors don't give you extensions without consequence. I came up with a few things that helped me to overcome (some) of my procrastination.
Buy (and use!) a planner.
In high school, my idea of a "planner" was using my wrist to write down things that I had to remember to do that night. Now, I literally could not live without my planner. I write everything down in it, including aspects of my personal life. I can't tell you how much easier it is to make plans, appointments, and most importantly to manage my time. Time management is a key part of procrastination. I would busy myself with other, seemingly more important matters which got in the way of making any sort of progress on my schoolwork. I would constantly tell myself that there was plenty of time for me to work on it before the due date, and just keep repeating that mantra until it was the night before and I literally threw some words on a paper and turned it in, praying that the teacher wouldn't grade that paper very hard.
Find a quiet place that isn't your bedroom to do work.
As many probably already know, there are tons of studies out there telling you that your bedroom is not a very good place to do homework and things other than sleep. Our brains are programmed that if we repeatedly do a certain behavior/activity in a certain place, your brain thinks that's what should be done every time you're in that place (conditioning!). So, if you're doing work in your bedroom, your brain says, "Oh, we're in this room again, I have to be awake to do all of these things", so basically, say goodbye to your sleep schedule (no matter how good or bad it may be). If you repeatedly go to a place on campus, like say the library, and study and do work there, whenever you go, you're more likely to be in more of a mood to actually do work instead of sleep. Half of the battle is starting the task and if you're like me, you like shortcuts and this just happens to be one of them.
If you can't focus with distractions, make sure you have headphones or find a quiet corner.
I can't focus when I have distractions around me such as people moving and talking in front of me or basically anything going on around me. If you can stand to listen to music, plug in your headphones and turn on something motivating and go to town on all of your work. If you can't stand any noise when you're studying, maybe invest in some earplugs and just block everything else out. A lot of campuses have cool little cooby things that you can go into which have walls on either sides. These are my favorite things in the whole world because they block out everything including most of my peripheral vision so I can't get distracted by trivial things. This is how I get most of my work done.
Make good connections in class.
If you make friends with the person who sits in the back of class on their phones and doesn't care, odds are you won't be very motivated to study or complete assignments either. However, if you make friends with someone who is very involved in the class and was the overachiever in high school, it's like you have just a little extra pressure to finish things and get involved in the class. Odds are they're going to ask, "Did you do the x assignment?" or "Did you study this for the test yet?". If you're like me, you feel like an underachiever if you say no. This helps to force me to study things so that I can bounce ideas off of these people. Two minds are always better than one when it comes to things like this.
Take advantage of resources on campus.
Here at Misericordia they have what's called the "Student Success Center" or SSC for short. If you do bad on midterms or the professor has a concern, they reach out to the SSC so they can consult with you and offer their services to you to see if there's anything they can do to help (these are all included in your tuition, by the way, so they're free). I'm currently enrolled in tutoring for my General Chemistry class. Tutoring in college is a lot different than tutoring in high school. The stigma attached to it in high school does not exist in college. One of my friends has an A in Chemistry and still attends the tutoring classes just to get more practice and to be sure that she understands the concepts before the test. Each of these sessions are run by a student who has had the professor the previous year/semester so they still have all of their notes and know exactly how said professor grades. Even if you don't want to go in in person or just don't have time, don't hesitate to reach out by email or even a phone call. That's what they are there for. Tutoring also helps with procrastination because you're going to a mandatory session of studying for an hour. Even if you only study the subject for that time slot, it's still better than not studying at all.
Overall, my procrastination is nowhere near as severe as it was in high school. Having all of these resources available at my disposal are more helpful than anything I have ever come across in high school. So if you're having trouble with procrastination, please take this advice and I hope it helps you as much as it helped me!