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Reallocating Your Efforts

I will admit, I am guilty of putting more effort into some things than others. When I was younger- and by younger I mean in high school- I spent more time learning about ways to win at MAGIC The Gathering rather than typing up my physics lab report. While this increased my chances of winning matches against my friends, it was of no help to my grades- much to the chagrin of my physics teacher, who knew I was spending most of my free time at her place trading cards with her son and our friends. This, by the way, is a perfect example of how not to properly network with your teachers.

I tell you this rather revealing story about myself because it became a bad habit early on. It was only after high school that I started realizing “if I put half the effort in my school work or even band practice as I do video and card games, I’d be a much better player and student.” Alas, a lesson learned too late, and a lesson that could have seriously helped me in college.

Bad habits are hard to break, especially when you are older. In college I knew a lot of people who had not yet learned this lesson and they suffered because of it. Heed my warning now: yes Mass Effect 3 was just released and beating it on Insane Mode the first two weeks is the ultimate sign of awesomeness, but remember that you are in college for a reason. Try flipping the ratio of time spent in the party house to time spent in the library. Yeah, I know it sounds lame and a chore, but it is true. If you put half the energy of something you like doing into something that can be beneficial to your future you will be very well off in the end.

The best tip I can provide to alleviate the burden of studying is to make friends with people in your class. Studying the material together is a great way to converse with others and exchange knowledge about the subject. In groups, studying becomes fun and keeps your focus off the next installment in the Assassin’s Creed series great game by the way. Getting engaged in the conversation keeps your focus on what you should be learning. If you pay attention in most college classes, you would be surprised at what kind of knowledge blows away the professor, which is never a bad thing. Do not let your ego get in the way becoming a teacher’s go-to student. Remember what I said before in an earlier entry? Having a professor on your side always helps- just like having a plasma sword as your secondary weapon can come in handy. So can a professor come finals time when you need that extra bump. You can only get to that level though IF you actually study.

I am not telling you to stop having fun. By all means, go ahead and log 115 hours in Skyrim. Best time to do that is over break- trust me, I have the baggy eyes to prove it. What I am telling you, though, is to do more than just what it takes to get the minimum work done. You should make sure you spend enough time to learn from it as well. College only lasts four years- for most people anyway. Don’t waste your time blowing it off because you can do something later. Procrastination is an ailment we all suffer from. To quote the Canadian politician Charles Dow Richards, “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” Be the person who gets the full year’s value out of one week. Study hard and reap the rewards in that cliché, yet true, way.

Questions? Ideas or suggestions? Follow me on twitter @ChrisComella or email me at [email protected]

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Christopher Comella

Christopher earned his BA in Political Science from DePaul University in 2011, and is no stranger to writing and deadlines. One of his greatest assets is to add humor to even the driest of subjects, which is why half of his professors love him and the other half hated his work.

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