This weekend I attended my cousin’s Sweet 16. I’ve never been to one, but to my surprise it was pretty fun. A lot of family members that I have not seen a while were there, along with some new faces I had not met before. Her parents looked proud at their grown up little girl, and her friends were happy to be sharing this seminal moment with her. Together, there were about a hundred people talking, dancing, and enjoying themselves at a room at the Baldwin Park community center, with my cousin as the center of the attention.
Feeling a tinge of nostalgia, not to say that I had a Sweet 16 of course, I wished I were back in high school, when things were much easier, and the only thing I had to worry about was who to ask to the school dance.
I’m a senior in college now and have my own celebration in a few months at my graduation. I am excited to see my friends and family gather, hear faculty speak about our class, and absorb the last bit of advice our school has to offer. I am, however a little nervous about my future. But before I take another step forward, I wanted to step back to reflect on my past.
As I look back I am proud of a few things that I have accomplished. I went from hardly being able to hold a conversation in English 8 years ago, having just moved to the United States, to being able to teach others how to write a successful application essay. I never would have dreamed that I would become fluent enough to write my own blogpost.
Although I had many other private victories, I consider my biggest accomplishment conquering a personal weakness, namely that of procrastination.
When I say I am going to do something, like study for my test early, or spend time with my parents, my resolve is rock-solid. But as time goes on, things come up, and I start making excuses for myself to escape those commitments. I get tempted by distractions, or downplay my commitments. I would then tell myself: “I can always hang out with them later right? Ah, I can always study later. That email can wait for sure. It will be okay.”
Well, one day it wasn’t okay. I had it coming for a long time, so when I got my first C in college, I knew I had a big problem. But instead of trying to solve it, I started thinking that I had been dealt a bad hand and made more excuses for myself. “If only I were smarter, or if only the topic wasn’t so boring.”
But that again is dissociating myself from the root of the problem. The only way to change the problem was to change my habits. I finally admitted that I had a procrastination problem and that it was out of control.
I recorded how much time I wasted everyday, which came out to be around 5 hours of accomplishing absolutely nothing. Who knew that Facebook and 9gag could be so addicting?
Appalled by what I was looking at, I began to cut those “lolling around” down and forced myself to use those extra minutes to change my terrible habit.
I hand wrote signs like “Stop! Don’t go on 9gag” and put it as my wallpaper, or gave my Facebook password to my friends, a gesture to which my friend responded by posting obscene statuses in my place. Apparently I really like… well you can go figure.
It was tough for the first few days, as my natural instincts tried to overcome my determination. But after a while, it wasn’t such a big deal anymore. I didn’t need distractions, or a break. I needed to hold true to my commitments.
My grades came back on track, and I have beat procrastination, for now. Although I still slip occasionally, it’s gratifying knowing I have ousted that disease from my body.
My friend once posted this quote that I finally understand the meaning of:
Commitment is doing what you said you’d do, long after the mood you said it in has left you.
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