Sean Keohane / Equinox staff

The one vital characteristic that successful students of all ages rely upon is discipline. While many like to believe that they possess this quality, a good amount tend to fall under the category of writing five sentences and rewarding themselves for all their ‘hard work’ with multiple hours of mindless Netflix viewing. Impeccable discipline is something that less and less kids are having to master due to technology making their lives incredibly easier than generations before.

The silent killer in the quest for disciplining oneself is self doubt. If you are someone that procrastinates, leaving countless assignments for the last minute, and if you have even the smallest hint of self doubt, then you will fold and fail under pressure. The thought of having the ability to complete all that work in such a short period of time will be doubted and you will find yourself being overwhelmed, causing you to give up easily. This is a vicious cycle that too many students fall under, eventually leading them to believe that they are just plain stupid and capable of nothing. Work becomes a degrading concept and classes that would normally intrigue students will fail to do so.

The first step  those that are struggling must take is to space out your work. I am well aware of how much easier-said-than-done this is, but it all boils down to the fact that if you have one small assignment to do, then you will start feeling like you are accomplishing something productive, daily. This will slowly but surely boost your confidence in your work and bring your work ethic back up. This is the key because once a student finds themselves completing small tasks every day with little to no effort, then the more challenging and heavier work  days will no longer be the end of the world.

A peculiar observation that I’ve made while being at college is that it’s often easy for students to be content with doing nothing productive in their day if they have no work. Regardless if it’s all week long, if the professors are not assigning anything, students are usually pretty satisfied with spending that free time on the couch doing nothing. This should never be the case as it will destroy your motivation when anything remotely serious comes up because you are so used to a life that is anything but stressful.

If you wake up and find out class is cancelled or the assignment you thought was due is actually due a week from then, don’t waste the entire day doing nothing. Sure, relaxing and taking a mental break is important, but do not do it in excess. Focus on your hobbies and find something you can do to exercise your brain or body. This will help condition you and keep you sharp for whenever the next hectic day comes about.

A lifestyle where you refuse to challenge yourself when you have free time is one that will never get you anywhere but the most average. If students are open to acting accordingly to this behavior, success will undoubtedly follow.


Billy Pruett can be contacted at: