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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Procrastination Café offers aid in tackling stress

Joseph Howerton
Students focus on school assignments at the Procrastination Café Holmes Student Center’s Illinois Room. The Procrastination Café is open to students and NIU staff between 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Tuesday. (Joseph Howerton | Northern Star)

DeKALB – There’s no harm in putting off one assignment right? There is when that one assignment turns into a mountain of procrastinated work. Thankfully an NIU event aims to help students build better study habits and beat stress.

The Procrastination Café is a weekly event that provides participants a space to work on tasks they’ve been avoiding. Participants can build positive study habits to work on preventing procrastination and reward themselves for their efforts.

The Procrastination Café takes place 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Tuesday in the Holmes Student Center’s Illinois Room.

When a participant enters the café, they fill out a goal sheet of what they want to work on while there. People also sign a technology agreement saying they won’t use their phone while in the café.

From there, the participant can use the space to work on tasks they’ve been procrastinating. Calming study music is played, free snacks are provided and peer educators from Student Wellness monitor the area making sure participants are uninterrupted and provide assistance.

Participants can ask peer educators to check in on them to make sure they are accomplishing tasks.

Free snacks and drinks like popcorn, fruit leathers, dark chocolate almonds, Sun Chips, gum, coffee and tea are provided to promote focus, positive brain activity and motivation.

The event is geared toward students but is open to other members of NIU who want to work on tasks they’ve been procrastinating. Tasks can be school related or anything they’ve been putting off and want to finish.

The event used to be held every other week, but feedback from participants motivated the program to become a weekly event.

Having a checklist of goals can provide a sense of accountability and a sense of accomplishment, said Sarah Moskal, health education coordinator and assistant director of Student Wellness at the Counseling and Consultation Services.

“It’s more about getting started because once that ball gets rolling, the motivation that we often wait for, for that thing we’re avoiding, will eventually come because that momentum is starting to move,” Moskal said.

Those who complete tasks on their lists can earn prizes to reinforce these positive work habits. Prizes include stickers, pens and bracelets with goofy or inspirational images and quotes.

A participant can fill out a survey with peer educators if the café assisted them with completing their goals and how it could be improved. 

“As a student employee, I like getting more feedback, making sure that if they (participants) had concerns, they feel that they were safe to voice them because we’re always receptive to that kind of feedback,” said Brian Podkulski, a senior psychology major and peer educator.

Based on polls from participant feedback, 97% of visitors said the café helped their study habits, Moskal said.

“I really wanted to find a quiet place where I can get my homework done, and this event has actually been the perfect place to do that,” said Lidia Marquez, a sophomore business administration and Spanish major.

Marquez said the café has a calm atmosphere that has helped her studying. She said she has gone to the café three times to study and plans to continue.

Podkulski said one common feedback is an improvement on the slow Wi-Fi. Podkulski said he agrees with the feedback, and Student Wellness is working with building organizers to improve the Wi-Fi.

Participants do not have to register ahead of time and can sign up for the Procrastination Café in the Illinois Room the day of.

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