Eat the frog: Combatting procrastination

The Academic Success Center at Liberty University wrapped up its fall series of workshops with a relatable topic for most students: overcoming procrastination.

This last workshop was taught by Dr. Ralph Jernigan, an Academic Success Center professor who has been teaching academic success workshops for 20 years.

Jernigan’s overarching point on procrastination was “Eat that frog.” In order to overcome this common problem, students must discipline themselves toward completing tasks that are unappealing. Jernigan encouraged students to “eat the ugliest frog first” and put the task     they want to do least at the top of their list.

According to Jernigan, 80-95% of college students procrastinate, but 95% of those students want to shake the habit. 

Near the beginning of the workshop, Jernigan had the audience write down either “yes” or “no” on a sheet of paper in response to several prompts regarding habits. These statements, such as “I have a habit of putting off tasks I don’t enjoy” and “I have trouble prioritizing activities,” gave students an idea of where they could improve.

The next step in overcoming procrastination, according to Jernigan, is using the “ABC Approach”: Admit it’s a problem, believe you can beat it and commit to a plan.

The workshop covered common reasons why students procrastinate, and Jernigan conversed with the students who attended to see how many of them could relate to the reasons already listed.

Jernigan said students can beat the habit of procrastination by setting start dates and deadlines, setting aside regular study times, allowing more time than seems necessary to complete tasks and breaking larger projects down into manageable steps.

To wrap up, Jernigan handed out time block charts for students to fill in their “fixed events.” By doing this, he said, students will get an idea of what time they can set aside to study and stick with it. 

Freshman Wesley Kellum said he came to the workshop to try and break the habit of procrastination.

“I thought it was helpful,” Kellum said. “He had lots of ideas and different things you could use … or tools you could use to help you succeed.” 

“I feel like (the workshop) definitely gave some tips that I had never heard before on procrastination,” freshman Kacie Wooten said. 

Jernigan said the goal of these workshops is to provide students plenty of resources and help them if they need tips for improvement. He said the workshops are especially helpful for students who aren’t required to take academic success courses.

Jernigan wants students to know the Academic Success Center is there to help them succeed in their classes, and supporting them is what means the most to him.

“For me, to be able to give them some tips and some encouragement. And also, at the same time, to offer ‘Come and see me,’” Jernigan said. “To provide them with who we are (and) that we are here, not just for advising and tutoring and writing, but for personal peer mentoring or faculty mentoring for students that are struggling in study skill areas.”

The workshop topics are mainly chosen based on the department that hosts them, but the most common topics students can look for are procrastination, test-taking and time management.

“It’s a pleasure to work with students,” Jernigan said. “To see them succeed, to see them make progress. I feel like I have made an investment, and so I’m able to celebrate their success with them.”

To learn more about the Academic Success Center and its workshops, visit this website

McKenzie is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion

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