Many of you reading this might still be finishing up classes or your degree and still have homework and assignments to submit. I had never experienced how critical deadlines can be in a corporate work environment until my internship. I started in January having somewhat of an understanding of what would be expected of me, but it wasn’t until this past weekend when I was wrapping up my returns for the March 17th corporate deadline that I realized how crucial it is to complete all of your work on time. I realized that working in a field such as public accounting, you are eventually expected to occasionally work 60+ hour weeks. My most important piece of advice to you all thus far is this: Take advantage of your school requirements as practice and as a challenge to yourself to be prepared to meet those expectations in whatever field you go into.
During school, I was just as prone as anyone to procrastinating, or submitting assignments at the last minute, but I have learned quickly just how stressful that can be in a work environment. Completing your work in an efficient and timely way and practicing now will save you lots of stress in the future. I know I might be preaching to the choir, but I’ve heard so many people I’ve interacted with during my time at school say things like “I have plenty of time” or “I’ll do it tomorrow, it’s not that important.” I’ve learned that starting your assignments as soon as you have all the information you need to begin them is the best way to go. I started thinking the other day about how this pans out in other careers. Take journalism for example. You have deadlines to meet that could prove to hurt the business if you don’t follow through as an employee, and as a student with that mentality, the ‘business’ that you’re affecting is yourself. I know it’s easier to comply with this idea when you’re working and getting paid, rather than paying for classes, but remember you’re investing in yourself and your personal and professional development.
According to an article on psychology.about.com there are 4 reasons why students procrastinate and struggle meeting their deadlines:
- Overestimate how much time they have left to perform tasks
- Overestimate how motivated they will be in the future
- Underestimate how long certain activities will take to complete
- Mistakenly assume that they need to be in the right frame of mind to work on a project
Perhaps knowing these common thought processes that go through the minds of many student, it will help you to be more proactive and better prepare you for the future.