Christie's blog

Presidents’ View on Drunkeness

I discovered recently that over 120 university presidents in the US have endorsed a campaign to lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18.

They say that the law is disregarded as irrelevant anyway, and thus is establishing a habit of breaking the law, and that it contributes to binge drinking.

At first I wasn’t so sure.

Yes, 18 year-olds can vote and fight for their country, and it's completely reasonable to treat them like adults in their drinking choices, too. But I’m hesitant to advocate changing a law just because it is regularly broken.

But after reading testimonies of some of the signing presidents, I’ve been convinced. Coming from a province where the legal age is 18, what I didn’t realize (or had forgotten from high school days) is that when it’s illegal for you to drink in public, you “top up” in private before heading out for the evening. Yup, binging, alcohol poisoning, blackouts are all more likely in that scenario, and for schools with 70% or more students under 21, it's a serious situation.

Top 10 Freshman Challenges

A University of Northern Iowa survey revealed that 9 of the top 10 challenges facing freshmen were academic adjustments.

Procrastination Favorites

Here's a great short film on procrastination. My favorite is color coordinating your shelves. (Oh, the joys of organizing...)

Wallowing in procrastination

We all have one (or two, or three). And we use it more often than we should, but none of us want to openly acknowledge it. No, I don’t mean that. I’m talking about a favourite means of procrastination.

Maybe favourite isn’t quite the right word, because we mostly use it unconsciously, not looking it square in the face, our awareness of it in the moment just flitting on the edge of our consciousness. It’s not like a favourite ice cream flavour, which we approach with relish and anticipation.

But maybe we should. Maybe the best way to beat procrastination is actually to identify the key means we use to avoid our work, and then write them up and post them in front of our computer (or wherever). Then, as we sit down to this work that we don’t want to do, let’s give ourselves 5 minutes to full on wallow in the joy of procrastination.

Then stop. Wouldn’t that be better than 20 minutes of furtive enjoyment, when on the edge of our consciousness we feel guilty about it? Isn’t a full-on nap infinitely more fulfilling than head bobbing on the bus on the way home?

Liar, liar, pants on fire

Would you admit that 70% of the time, you're actually lying?

Joseph Ferrari, a psychology professor at DePaul University and editor of Counseling the Procrastinator in Academic Settings, found in one study that "students who engaged in academic procrastination said more than 70 percent of the excuses they gave instructors for not completing an assignment were fraudulent (the lies were most prevalent in large lecture classes taught by women who were 'lenient')."

Must have been anonymous admissions.

How big are your muscles?

As a former college coach, I was interested to recently come across a research study that found that self-control is like a muscle.

Researchers from Australia’s Macquarie University have found that a person’s self-control can improve both in stamina (the resistance to fatigue) and power (the degree of self-control needed in any given moment) when it's regularly “exercised” with small acts of self-control.

Their study in Basic & Applied Social Psychology showed how they tested two groups of students. The first group was put on a regular program of study in which they created a homework plan and followed it throughout the semester. The control group had no such plan. Both groups were examined at the beginning and the end of the semester, using self-administered questionnaires about their perceived stress levels and habits, and also using a visual tracking test to measure the students’ ability to concentrate in the midst of distraction.

The results were extremely intriguing.