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New ‘iConquer’ column will help students keep academic resolutions, achieve educational goals

February 6, 2013
Jeanette Gaudio

Jeanette Gaudio

“There’s always tomorrow.” Such a common phrase we repeat to ourselves on a regular basis.

Working out. Eating healthy. Quitting smoking. Calling up an old friend. Anything we perceive as “work” or inconvenient always takes the back seat in priorities.

The connection that we do not seem to make is that “tomorrow” is never far away.

There is always that one thing in the back of our minds that we want to change or improve in our lives, but like a tick it plants itself underneath our skin and makes a home. Although we know what our personal remedies are, they are to no avail. It’s almost like we get comfortable with the home this “tick” has made, sucking the life out of us slowly.

Whether it is promising yourself to read the chapters in your textbooks every day before class, going to the Rec on a regular basis, or even something as simple as giving up soda, for whatever reason these things never make the A-list of priorities.

One of our favorite ways of justifying these recurring burdens is to say, “Ugh, today is not the day. I cannot deal with this today.” Whether you woke up late, have several exams this upcoming week or your neighbor was playing their bass as loudly as possible the night before, we find ourselves deprived of the one thing that allows us to change up our lifestyle in a positive manner.

We think about these changes because we desire the positive outcomes, whether we know it or not.

iConquer logoOf course we enjoy soda over water. Relaxing is a lot easier than working out. Catching up on “Dexter” is way more entertaining than reading the assigned chapters. McDonald’s tastes so much better than a boiled chicken breast.

Although these are the decisions we consciously make every day, we can still feel that tick pulsating underneath our skin. It never goes away until you do something about it.

These years that we spend at college are the years that we start defining ourselves, not just academically and socially, but as contributing members of society. Now is when we start building the framework of our forever. Several “tomorrows” from now, we somehow will be impacted entirely by what we have decided today.

It does not just impinge what we do day to day. It goes deeper than that. If we cannot allow these positive changes to happen, they slowly start influencing how we perceive ourselves. If we reject constructive and positive changes, we start to believe that we are just not capable. We believe that we are not smart enough. Not fit enough. Not good enough. Not motivated enough.

Are you sensing a pattern? “Not enough.” We should never have to think of ourselves in that way. Having this in the back of your mind is a quick and easy way to start off with a bad day. A series of bad days lead to a bad semester. A bad year. An unhappy person.

If the “tomorrow” we have been waiting for has yet to come, it might never come.

Photo of an hourlgass with the sand running outUnfortunately, people do not acquire responsible decision-making and time-management skills based on days of survival. People do not miraculously get better; they simply settle more comfortably into their ways. The habits we carry today are the habits we will carry into adulthood, the workplace, marriage, into our future families.

There is only so much your parents and bosses can make you do on a daily basis. If you cannot push yourself outside of your comfort zone in a positive way, who is going to do it?

Every single person has these ticks that they have yet to face. Some people just do not know where to start.

In this “iConquer” column, we will face these issues together. You have them. I have them. Your professor in your next class has them. Do not be discouraged. The important thing is to recognize what these ticks mean to you, and to ask yourself what you can do about them.

Are you the person you want to be today? Is something slowly sucking the life/motivation/confidence/courage out of you? Northern Illinois University is a great campus. There are so many resources here that want to help you through these obstacles. On top of that, the majority of the students here face similar barriers and just do not know where to start.

Today is the “tomorrow” you have been waiting on, and bid it a farewell. We can all reach these aspirations together, and we can start right now.

by Jeanette Gaudio

Editor’s note: Jeanette Gaudio’s “iConquer” column will appear frequently in NIU Today this semester, offering tips from campus professionals to help students keep their academic resolutions and achieve their educational goals. Gaudio is a communication major and student intern in NIU Media and Public Relations.