With the spring quarter underway, students are preparing for rigorous assignments and new material. Stress and anxiety, which often lead to procrastination, are common emotions that students might experience. Some students may feel overwhelmed with the sudden, statewide shift of classes being virtually-delivered online through Blackboard and Zoom, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and feeling overwhelmed can lead students to procrastinate on their responsibilities. CSUSB’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) hosted a virtual workshop through Zoom to help students find ways to combat anxieties and procrastination.
The virtual workshop took place on April 9 and assisted students in identifying the anxieties that drive their procrastination behaviors. Hosted by Katherine Wu, M.A., a CAPS therapist, the webinar provided easy exercises that participants could do whenever they are feeling tempted to procrastinate.
Wu wanted her audience to see their anxiety, challenge it in the moment, and challenge its roots. At the beginning of the presentation, she asked her audience to create a list of the reasons they give themselves that eventually put themselves down and cause them to procrastinate. “It will be too hard, too upsetting, it’s dumb and I hate it” were common responses from participants.
Wu suggested that people who are constantly worried about their responsibilities can start to do little steps to get out of their procrastination.
To help explain this, Wu spoke about her experience as a graduate student. She said that, as a graduate student, she is often required to write 20-page papers, and to keep herself from procrastinating, she divides the work into small, simple steps in order to finish her assignments.
“I’ll open a Google Doc one day, then the next day work myself up to start to write the paper,” said Wu. “Doing these little small steps will be a gradual process towards achieving your goal.”
Depression is a factor in overcoming procrastination and can prevent someone from setting and completing their goals.
Diego Lita, a senior student for Diesel Mechanics, speaks about depression being one of his reasons for procrastinating and how it has affected him in completing his goals.
“Every time I try to start something and I am right at the end of the finish line, some life event happens and everything gets taken away from me once again. That is the reason why I don’t want to start anything new because I can never make it to the end, and I feel incapable of achieving my dreams,” said Lita.
There are some students who know that procrastination is a problem they have, but they get their assignments done as needed and manage to get good grades.
Yesenia James, a student of Mt. San Jacinto College, discussed procrastination being a major issue of hers, yet continues to do it. “I literally do all assignments a night or two before they are due and I always pass. That’s probably why I keep doing it. The only thing I don’t procrastinate on is studying for tests and exams,” stated James.
Overcoming procrastination is a challenge for many people because they think there are better things to do. Hernan De Santiago, another student from Mt. San Jacinto College who majors in X-ray Tech, talked about activities he would rather do than starting an assignment because it’s hard to begin.
“I would rather do other things that I enjoy doing, like playing video games, hanging out with my friends, or watching YouTube because I don’t understand the assignment or it’s too boring or easy and I will just get to it later. There is still a lot of time till it’s due so why worry about it now,” said De Santiago.
These are some of the key factors Wu discussed in her virtual workshop: identifying the problem first and then start thinking about how to overcome the issue one step at a time. There are some other outside resources that Wu recommended students use to aid them to overcome procrastination.
“I highly recommend the TED talks on procrastination that come up when you look on YouTube and Dr. David Burns’s ‘Feeling Good.’ Regardless of what tips we decide to use, I encourage students to seek support and accountability,” said Wu.
These tips and resources are available to students through teletherapy that CAPS is offering. If anyone is interested in this workshop, the recorded video session of this Zoom webinar will be available on the CSUSB CAPS website. There are also a number of similar workshops that the CAPS organization is presenting for CSUSB students, with topics ranging from stress management during a pandemic to the science of online dating, throughout the spring quarter.