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Nothing to Do with Laziness

Each year, around 1,200 students go to the Psychological Counseling Office at the Bremen Student Services Organization. What help do Swantje Wrobel and her team offer when it’s not going so smoothly? The topic today: Procrastination.

Procrastination is the thief of time. A little flexibility is one of the nice things about studying but what happens when putting things off is no longer the exception to the rule and you’re left with a mountain of things to do at the end of the semester? The Psychological Counseling Office at the Bremen Student Services Organization can help.

Lukas is a relaxed guy. Why get stressed in October when the exam is in January? He doesn’t understand why his fellow students sit with stressed faces in lectures weeks before the exam and then go through the work again in the evenings. He has always managed by only revising for a couple of days.

Swantje Wrobel is not surprised that Lukas turns up at the Psychological Counseling Office (PBS) at the Bremen Student Services Organization a short time later. Those who continually put things off generally have a serious problem later. “Students, who have postponed a lot of things and are now in over their head, come to us regularly. The technical term for this is procrastination,” says the psychologist.

What is the Situation like?

In order to find out how serious the situation really is, Wrobel and her team ask the students seeking advice about their day-to-day life. How much work have you put off? Are we only talking about two small presentations or do you still need to hand in coursework from last semester? How much does the current situation bother you?

Then they try to find the cause. “Continual procrastination can have different roots,” explains Wrobel. Some students are simply distracted to easily. Others have entirely unrealistic goals. Others do not have the right skills.

A Work Disorder

Now and then a disorder may be the cause, for example ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which should be treated with medication if it is severe. “Regardless of the cause, procrastination is a work disorder that needs to be taken seriously. It has nothing to do with laziness,” emphasizes the psychologist.

Generally, the trick is to change study behavior with a few simple rules. The aim is to develop a suitable work structure with realistic scheduling and attainable goals.

The Studierwerkstatt helps

Once the cause has been found, a change can be made. During the conversation with Lukas, it became clear that he is not entirely sure how he can learn everything from a whole semester for the exam. Wrobel told him of the Studierwerkstatt (Study Workshop). They hold regular workshops on the most important study skills there.

Additionally, they agreed that he would cancel his streaming subscription for the time being. The continually available series are just too tempting.

Psychological Counseling

The Psychological Counseling Office is located in the University of Bremen Central Campus Building underneath the cafeteria (Mensa). The secretariat is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays and from 2p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. Appointments can also be made on the phone (22 01 – 1 13 10) or via email pbs@stw-bremen.de. There is also an online counseling service. The Psychological Counseling Office services are offered free of charge to students at the university and higher education institutions in Bremen and Bremerhaven.

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