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6 Compelling Questions to Consider Before Applying for College

6 Compelling Questions to Consider Before Applying for College

Is college for you? It depends. Ask yourself these six questions before you even think about applying for college.

1. Am I prepared to commit to a specific field?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

As you start to think about applying for college, you should have a specific idea about what you hope to accomplish in your life. Consider these questions:

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  • How do I hope to add value to the world?
  • What topics or fields captivate my interest?
  • What personal strengths do I have that could be developed at school?
  • Would I like to work in an office, or would I be happier in a position that is more active?

While you can change your course of study as you please, it would be unwise to invest your time and money into a costly education without any comprehension of how it might benefit you.

2. Should I take a year off to reflect on my passion and purpose?

“It is necessary for a man to go away by himself, to sit on a rock, and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?” -Carl Sandburg

If you don’t have any good answers to the questions posed in point #1, don’t feel bad. High school is a confusing time that presents more questions than answers, and that is why you might want to take a year to reflect before you pursue a college degree. This article has some questions that will help begin your journey of self-exploration that will unlock your potential. Consider keeping a journal or notebook to write down your answers. You also might be helped by the suggested reading list below:

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3. Is college a place that will serve me, or should I try to succeed through self-study?

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” -Salvador Dalí

Many college graduates are struggling to find jobs in our stagnate economy, which makes it tempting to assume pursuing a higher education isn’t worthwhile. In my opinion, the benefit of getting a degree is overstated. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” However, I’m not convinced that most people at the age of 18 have the ambition required to succeed on their own. You’re welcome to test that theory for yourself to prove me wrong, but if you require accountability in the form of classes and assignments, then don’t be afraid to admit it.

4. How can I get the education I need at a cost I can afford?

“You must learn to save first and spend afterwards.” -John Poole

I’m not going to debate the merits of private vs. public, or out-of-state vs. in-state schools in this article, because it is simply foolish to make an investment you cannot afford. If you were an excellent high school student who can get a hefty scholarship, or if you’re lucky enough to have parents who are willing to pay your tuition, then feel free to explore more expensive options. Otherwise, I wouldn’t suggest it, because even the most prestigious degree won’t guarantee a high-paying job in today’s economy. Here is a list of the most affordable colleges with the highest return on investment.

5. What kind of learning environment will be best for my development?

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin

Here are a few questions that will help you determine the learning environment that is best for you:

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  • Would you rather go to a college that is driving distance from home, or are you ready for some space?
  • Would you rather listen to a professor in a classroom with students, or learn at your leisure in an online course?
  • Would you rather attend a busy campus where you meet new people every day, or do you prefer a close-knit community?

There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to those questions, but you should definitely know your answers before you apply for college.

6. Can I focus on my studies exclusively, or do I need a side-hustle, too?

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” -Thomas Edison

You need to perform an honest assessment of your financial situation before you decide on how many credit hours to take in a semester. If you have plenty of time to study, then you might be able to handle a full class schedule. If you need a job to cover your tuition, food, and other expenses, then you should probably start slow to avoid getting overwhelmed.

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I hope these questions help you figure out if college is for you. Please share this article with anyone you know who is thinking about applying for college.

Featured photo credit: College Student Studying/Geoff Duncan via flickr.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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