The hardest person to change is yourself… except for everyone else. This weeks question is about trying to help friends help themselves:
I have a couple friends that have been screwing up in college. They do almost no school work for long periods of time but then spend days working like crazy to try and catch up on their overdue stuff. They’re always partying and drinking before big tests. I want to help them out. I’ve tried to teach them ways to study to speed everything up but I just can’t get through to them. Any advice?
Yes. To start: be ready to stop worrying about helping your friends out of this rut. You can’t change other people. Many students drive themselves into this hole in college. Given their first chance at personal responsibility they bomb. This hole usually isn’t a major concern. (If they’re actually getting addictions or other long-term health risks then it might be. If they’re just slacking and partying a bit then it’s usually not a huge problem long term.)
It’s good to worry about your friends but there is only so much you can do.
The first thing you should do, I’m betting, you have already done. You need to talk to these people about your concerns. After you tell them about your concerns, unless they explicitly ask for help, there isn’t all that much you can do.
The second thing you should do is step back, stay away from them, and, maybe once or twice, be there to help them if they decide they need help.
No matter how hard you try to make the case that they’re being stupid, you won’t change them. In fact, many studies have shown trying to change someone’s mind with evidence tends to solidify their previous beliefs even more. So… if you try to convince them the partying will destroy their grades, they’ll just believe more thoroughly that partying has had no negative effect.
This blog is intended to help students study. I try to make the study advice as easy to comply with as possible (or I include some kind of disclaimer saying otherwise.) I do that because getting people to make a small change in their study habits is reasonable. To try to get a person that already studies to study a little more or less is easy. To try and get a person that hardly ever studies to study regularly is waaay harder.
Your friends have a list of problems that need to be solved. They party when they should probably be sleeping. They don’t study. They don’t do school work on time. They try to cram all their work into short periods of time. They likely do other bad things. They have a list of problems that’s likely going to take something very personal to them to stop. A conversation from a close friend may be enough to convince them. That being said, a conversation from a close friend may not be enough. They could require losing a significant amount of time and money failing their classes. They could require doing a few things they regret. You can’t force them to change before they’re ready.
That being said, if or when, your friends decide to get back to a realistic and sustainable school lifestyle, you can be their to help those friends get back on track. When those days come, if they trust you, you’ll be able to help them faster than you could possibly dream of today. Of course, you’re not magic but it can surprise you.
Do you want to know how to study faster and more efficiently than ever before? Well… you’ve come to the right blog. Be sure to follow and check out the archives for more information.
Also, be sure to check out the ebooks in the sidebar to get all the secrets.
Maybe She Won’t Notice
D’s eyes were watering at the score on the screen.
He was thinking, “Is this what I am now?”
The score was low. Lower than he liked to think about – and way lower than he used to get.
He was just hoping that his mother wouldn’t ask. He always hated telling her and it killed him worse to lie about it. It’s his mother… she wants what’s best for him and he knew he was screwing it up.
Staring at the score it hit him…
This has to change. On the next test, coming up in 3 weeks, he was going to make up for it. He was going to score high.
So… he studied. He studied for hours that night. He studied until his eyes were closing involuntarily.
The next day… he studied for hours.
And the day after that… he did it again.
But the day after that – his best friend was going through a bit of a crisis. So… he took the day off studying. I mean, no one needs to study hundreds of hours for a test, and he was doing well so far.
But the next day… he was exhausted. And, you know, exhausted studying doesn’t work. So he missed that day to.
The day after, he squeezed in some studying.
And… I think you know how this story goes…
The night before the test, he’s staring down at his study guide and cursing to himself.
It happened… again…
That night he buckled down and studied almost all night. (Until he virtually crashed at 3 am.) Every time he started dozing off earlier he’d get a snack or drink and keep on plugging. He worked. And he worked hard.
He even had moments where it felt like he was running better than ever. He felt like he was going to pull it off.
The test was the next afternoon.
And I’d like to say he knocked it out of the park and D saved himself with his last ditch effort to save his grade but…
I can’t say that.
Sure… D didn’t bomb completely.
But when he was staring down at his score… he was tearing up again. And he still was hoping that his mother wouldn’t ask him about it…
It’s not a number on a piece of paper.
I know… it can help reduce your stress to think that way, and there is a place for that.
But your future, your position in the world, is partially decided by these numbers on these papers. We all know it.
We all want to put ourselves in the best position possible – and these scores can do that for us.
And D knew it.
If you know it then join us.
D is kicking butt it this semester – more importantly, he’s doing it without procrastination rearing its ugly head.
If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.
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