It’s finally here. That dreaded time of the semester known as “Dead Week.” Staff members hate it because students are stressed. Faculty hate it because they can see the growing mountain of papers and final exams to grade. Students hate it because, you know, finals.
While it can seem like an overwhelming time of year for everyone on a college campus, we’ve been brainstorming some ideas for more productive procrastination during the final examination preparation time. You might be thinking, “Productive procrastination? But that’s an oxymoron.” To which we will reply – 1) your junior high English teacher is absolutely beaming with pride at the moment and 2) there is such a thing as productive procrastination and we think it can be really helpful this time of year.
The idea, originally coined by a philosopher at Stanford named John Perry as “structured procrastination,” identified the phenomenon of positive procrastination. He writes about the idea that procrastinators rarely do nothing and for us to really get in the groove of our to-do lists, we just need a bit of positive reinforcement first. Think of it as procrastinating one project while working on another. If we can knock some things off our lists, we get our creativity flowing and are more likely to 1) get our major tasks accomplished and 2) get a lot of other things done along the way. So, why not practice some productive procrastination with things you need to do anyway?
It all starts with a list (but don’t worry, we’ve got that one covered) –
Update Your Résumé
What better way to knock out a “I have been meaning to do this but haven’t had time yet” task than during your productive procrastination time. With the end of another semester in sight, spend a few minutes updating your résumé with information on that awesome internship you had this semester, the campus or community involvement position you held, or relevant coursework you completed this spring. Be sure to make a note to update your GPA (if you have it listed) after final grades have been calculated.
Set Up Your Handshake Profile
Handshake is OU’s career management platform. It is a really helpful tool that connects you to all things Career Services. You can schedule a mock interview, apply for jobs or internships, and even set up a time to meet with your Career Adviser all in one place. The best part about Handshake is the employer engagement. Thousands of employers from around the world use Handshake to recruit students just like you. With a few clicks, you can get your profile set up, upload a résumé, and set that baby to “public.” Employers will be able to see all the things you do here on campus and in the community, what classes you’ve completed, and why they are missing someone like you on their team.
Clean Up Your Online Presence
Take a walk down memory lane and clean up your online presence. We know that social media platforms are one of the first places employers go when doing research on you. Think of it as the big-kid version of “creeping.” You want to show your personality, but still put your best foot forward. Our best advice is to put yourself in the shoes of someone a generation (or two) above you. If you have an inkling they might find something you have posted online questionable, we recommend cleaning that up. It doesn’t matter how many privacy settings you have, if employers want to find something on you, they will. Take a few minutes to go through your social networking accounts and tidy up. Your friends might think you are wasting time on social media, but we know it’s just you practicing some productive procrastination. Plus, you can get in touch with your sentimental side and relive all those great memories you might have posted about.
Research Prospective Employers
When we think of research, it isn’t always the most fun. But, reading up on prospective employers is definitely the fun kind of research. Use Handshake to get started. We suggest thinking about a few regions you might like to work or intern in the future. Use geography or a particular interest you might have to narrow down that list of employers you want to learn more about. Visit their websites, read blogs they might have, and sift through their social media accounts – you will find lots of great information you can use later in an interview or when writing a cover letter.
Tidy Up Your Inbox
This is a big one. We know that if not managed diligently, our email inboxes can quickly get out of hand. The last thing you want is to miss an important email from a potential employer. If you are looking for something to fill your productive procrastination time, take some time to sift through your email inbox. We recommend building a system that works for your organization style and sticking to it. It’s ok to go through and delete things you know you will never need again. But, keeping an orderly inbox while in school is great practice for when you enter the workforce in the future.
Good luck on finals from your friends in Career Services. We are cheering you on!
Getting you hired sooner,
-OU Career Services Team