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Mabee Library Leads Fight Against Procrastination

Two Nights of Focused Study Planned for November.

Procrastination: the nefarious SPECTRE of collegiate life, made twice as cunning on today’s campuses thanks in part to digital distractions like Netflix and Facebook. Whether the behavior is long-term or episodic, the intentional delay of academic obligations—especially when it becomes a pattern—can lead to serious negative consequences, such bad grades, the potential loss of financial aid, and poor self-esteem. According to the American Psychological Association, over 70% of students wrestle with some form of procrastination, and many who fail to adopt effective counter measures end up struggling with achievement later in life.

Bruce Flanders, director of Mabee Library and Learning Commons, has grown accustomed to seeing Pioneers struggle with the problem, as much of his job entails managing and observing the hub of students’ study time, as well as making sure library resources are available to those who need them.

“Psychologically, students can begin to feel like they’re under the gun,” Flanders said, “especially at the point just after midterms have ended and finals are getting closer. This can lead them to put off big projects and assignments and do other things as a way of dealing with the stress.”

Hoping to assist those students, Mabee Library, along with a knowledgeable team of volunteers and tutors from Kresge Academic Support Center, will be hosting “Late Night against Procrastination”—MNU’s first-ever official study marathon. The event is free and open to all MNU students, and is scheduled to take place at Mabee on both November 1 and November 30 from 7 p.m. to midnight. 

Flanders said both evenings will feature a wide range of academic resources, such as training on how to effectively utilize Ebscohost, advice on how to form a thesis statement, and guidance on formatting and writing in a number of different academic styles, including MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian. Among the experts scheduled to appear are Kara Bollinger, MNU’s writing specialist, and Elizabeth Diddle, the Pioneer wellness coordinator, who plans to present information about proper sleep hygiene.

According to Rick Hanson, associate vice president for academic and professional success, “A Late Night against Procrastination” is being funded by a Department of Education Title III Grant, and is designed to connect students with resources those funds helped create.

“Fundamentally, Title III is about helping students succeed,” Hanson said. “In particular, it’s about trying to boost our resources, and facilitate opportunities for students to connect with those resources.”  

Hanson said the idea for the event came after careful consideration of both promoting balance in the study habits of students, as well offering assistance when they need it the most.

“For the library staff, it was about helping students overcome a traditional bad habit, which is waiting until the end,” Hanson said. “In doing that, we tried to find a balance between starting early, but not putting the events so early that students would not yet find them relevant.”

In order to make the events even more attractive, Hanson said an invitation to volunteer was sent to a variety of MNU professors and members of faculty, hoping they can engage with many of their own students and assist with specific projects and assignments from courses they teach. Dr. Shanti Thomas, Professor of English, was among this first to volunteer.

“If there are any extra ways I can help my students outside of class, I will,” Thomas said. “Finding help with difficult writing situations can help improve students' skills and overall approach to writing.”

Dr. Tyler Blake, another Professor of English, said he believes events such as “Late Night against Procrastination” should remind students to incorporate studying and research into their daily lifestyle, as opposed to solely promoting a marathon-style mindset.

“Students should be curious and love to find things out,” Blake said. “I hope this event is part of an ongoing process that will help students discover the joys of research and eventually make it a daily habit.”

As a remedy to procrastination, Blake has some advice of his own.

“When you get an assignment, try to sit with it for at least 15 minutes per day,” Blake said. “This will help make it a part of a daily routine, as opposed to just tackling it all at once.”

Students seeking regular help with projects and assignments are advised to visit the Kresge Academic Support Center, where they can receive tutoring, help with writing assignments, and other forms of academic assistance throughout the week.


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