Juliette’s Declassified School Survival Guide: January

Dream on: turning dreams into plans remedies procrastination

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Juliette’s Declassified School Survival Guide: January

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

Photo Illustration by Emma Trussell

by Juliette Roberts, Copy Editor

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Recently, I had one of those moments that made my brain freeze for a few seconds before resuming with its regularly scheduled programming if you’ve ever seen those videos of the fainting goats, you know what I’m talking about. It all began when my aunt asked me, “So, where are you thinking about going to college?”

The funny thing was that I actually had an answer. I’d already had my heart set on Brown University for quite a while, but I intentionally chose to pretend like I had no clue. Later, I realized that I was scared to tell her about Brown because it has an acceptance rate of 9.5 percent and I didn’t want to hear the whole speech about, “That’s a very difficult college to get into! Don’t get your hopes up.”

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being realistic about the future it’s even an asset but there’s a fine line between realism and cynicism. “Having a dream” sounds like something straight out of Disney, like the “Tangled” song “I’ve Got A Dream,” but it doesn’t have to be impractical. Dreams can be translated into reality and then into a study plan.

The trick is to make it less of a dream and more of a plan.

Some ideas of goals relevant to school are deciding where to go to college, achieving a reasonable SAT score, or even scoring a simple A on a test. There’s nothing wrong with sitting back for a minute and imagining the moment when you get your acceptance letter or when you see that beautiful score on the top of the screen. Inspiration is an amazing medicine to remedy procrastination, like a shot of caffeine, but with twice the health benefits.

A study from Harvard Business Review took over 300 companies from all over the world and asked the executives to observe their workforce productivity based on the mentality of the workers. If satisfied employees met an index level of 100, then engaged employees topped that with 144. However, inspired employees knocked them both out of the park with an index level of 225.

When studying for something you despise or taking notes for a class you think is pointless and tedious, try thinking of that one thing you want more than anything else, and look at that class or that test as a stepping stone to getting there. It still might not be enjoyable, but inspiration will make it tolerable.

A simple way to translate this dream into reality is to associate it with an object, such as a pin (which, ahem, is a nice accessory for a lanyard), sticker, shirt or phone wallpaper. They’re more tangible, so the goal seems closer and attainable. I see some of my friends wearing college shirts, and a few with letterman jackets of their dream university, and it might be my imagination, but I swear they seem more focused and motivated to succeed when they do. If there’s a quote that motivates you to succeed, write it somewhere you’ll see every day, like on a bathroom mirror or in the inside of a notebook.

Actually, the “Tangled” example is a good model to follow because even Rapunzel took bold steps towards achieving her goal. If you’re lucky, you won’t have to fight criminals, an evil stepmother and all the king’s guards to achieve your dream. Instead of thinking of dreams as fantasy, make them into a realistic plan, work them into your study routine, and let the inspiration flow.