student leaders

For People Who Battle Procrastination: Use It Wisely


procrastination, job search, happiness, waiting, passion, hate my job, love my job, stop procrastinating

There are no limits to what you can accomplish when you are supposed to be doing something else.

Tomorrow (noun) – a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.

Going to start studying at 3:00 p.m…. 3:05 p.m.: Missed it…4:00 p.m. it is.

 Due tomorrow? Do tomorrow.

Procrastination. Ah, yes, we’ve all been there: seven hours before the 8:00 a.m. due date of a 12-15 page paper that was casually started yesterday….night…while watching New Girl. Basically, the only content on the page is:



Course Title



In a handful of unique situations, procrastination may lead to successful completion of a task or project. Some research even says occasional procrastination isn’t all that bad. After all, procrastination is really just a matter of prioritizing and time management. However, whether it’s with chores, college assignments or work tasks, procrastination can be a significant hindrance in one’s reliability and performance. Habitual procrastinators are simply living through life’s experiences. Getting by. Surviving through it and hurriedly moving on to the next task.


Where’s the opportunity for creativity? Where’s the opportunity to evaluate?


Allotting the appropriate amount of time to accomplish a goal opens a gateway for creativity. More time to complete the basic criteria gives one the chance to take a second, maybe third, look at the finished product while considering alternative and creative ways to express the ultimate point. Going that extra mile can sometimes be the difference between a B+ and an A from a professor, or the difference between “Thanks” and “This is great work, thank you!” from a supervisor. For example, getting a head start on the job search will give you the time and patience you need to obtain a job that’s a right fit for you. Starting in advance means you have more time to network with potential connections, more time to search postings and company profiles and more time to explore the various opportunities and avenues available to you such as unconventional job search strategies.

Getting started on a project early also gives one the chance to edit and reconsider aspects of the work once the first draft or version is complete. Hurriedly sending an email to a job recruiter before the job application closes at midnight can lead to grammatical errors, incorrect information, and that embarrassing second email, “whoops, I forgot the attachment.” Now that’s an unfortunate first impression.

On the other hand, taking the time to sit down and craft an email that is clear, concise and correct can lead to tremendous opportunities. Starting ahead means that errors and contradicting points that would, perhaps, go unnoticed are realized and corrected before another set of eyes take a look.

Procrastination and the Job Search

A great example would be the infamous cover letter. If you’ve procrastinated submitting your credentials for a posting, chances are you’ll be submitting a classic, mundane cover letter complete with all the necessary points…the boring, inorganic necessary points. This will not wow a recruiter. In fact, the recruiter, who reads hundreds of cover letters, will immediately realize your disregard to crafting an authentic and unique cover letter specific to the company and, more importantly, the position. Taking the time to prepare a genuine cover letter shows care and interest.

An opportunity to review and evaluate the task in its final stages will show a professor or supervisor that the work was not done simply to check it off the list. It was a priority and that dedication should not go unnoticed. Evaluation provides details and avenues for improvement on future work, too, allowing one to grow and develop as a student or professional.

Procrastination can become a bad habit which can significantly affect the daily routine and attitude of a person. Once one task has been procrastinated, chances are many other important and sometimes time-sensitive priorities will follow suit. Habitual procrastination can become an unhealthy lifestyle and you won’t even realize what you’re missing. Procrastination means spending more money on vacations, taxes and other things. It means staying late at work to finish a project instead of going to happy hour with your buddies.

A popular phrase says, “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” Oh but it does. One person’s procrastination could seriously impact the way another person’s job or team assignment functions and then it becomes this huge, sour snowball effect full of irritated coworkers, annoyed supervisors and potentially negative reviews of the final work.

I won't sit here and pretend that I don't procrastinate because that could not be further from the truth. It is an exhilarating feeling working under pressure, under a deadline. That's the journalist in me. I will say, though, that  the key with procrastination is to use it productively. Consider the reason for procrastinating a task:

  1. I don’t feel like doing it.
  2. I have other things to do.
  3. It won’t be that difficult.
  4. It isn’t really time sensitive.

Consider who your procrastination might affect:

1. My boss.

2. My family/friends.

3. My teammates.

Then, evaluate and determine whether it is beneficial to put off the task. If it actually can wait, while allowing the opportunity and time for at least an evaluation before submission, then by all means, go on a Netflix binge of New Girl. Otherwise, do something today, right now even, that your future self will thank you for.

Day 5 - The First Big Pivot: How a Conversation Changed the Trajectory of my Life


FDU, college, student leadership, award, college award, orientation, orientation leaders, OL's, leadership, leadership workshop, college training, training, student training, keynote The summer between my sophomore and junior year in college I pushed my comfort zone to work as an orientation leader at FDU. I had no idea what I was getting into and the critical point that was about to shift my college career from good to great.

I remember when I was a first-year student and my orientation leader, Mark Bullock, said “The more you put into college, the more you’ll get out of it.”  During my first two years in college, I didn’t quite grasp what Mark meant by that statement. However, by putting myself out there and later becoming an orientation leader it slowly started to make sense. Immediately, I had 15 new friends that summer and we all lived in a string of suites in Park Ave (real-world style).

Our group was inseparable: we worked 8am-5pm together, played volleyball after work, went to concerts together, and sure enough behaved like college students that had a campus to themselves at night (swimming in the fountains and such).

Growing up as a shy kid, I finally felt like I was coming out of my shell, putting myself out there, and suddenly had several groups of friends where I could be myself.

Unconsciously, I was becoming a leader.

Waking up early, setting up tables in the student center without being asked - check.

Running corney ice breakers by myself - check. Ability to work with several different personalities - check.

Get on stage in front of hundreds of first year students twice a week - check!

However, halfway through the summer, there was a  moment that I started to realize I may have had a special skill set. Orientation was led by Sarah Azavedo (Director of Student Life) with Ray Flook and Nathalie Waite (both Assistant Directors). One morning, Sarah wanted to meet with me early before that day’s sessions. I, of course, thought I was headed to the boss’ office because I had done something wrong.

That was not the case - she told me there was a student attending today’s sessions that had a disability. She personally wanted me to be at her side for the next 48 hours to make her feel welcomed, help her get around campus, and connect her with other peers. Part of me was terrified and the other half was shouting “yes, I’ll do it!” in my head.

Well the adrenaline kicked in, I said yes and I met Anna at 8:30am that morning. Anna was an incoming first-year and only two year’s younger than me. Her energy and personality was exhilarating and contagious. She was so excited to be at college and meet new people - she couldn’t get enough of it. Later that day, I remember Courtney had a 30 minute break, joined Anna and I, and we gave her a private tour of campus. That is when we really got to know Anna.

It turns out, she was in a car accident when she was younger and she had relied on getting around in a wheelchair for most of her life and she had a slight speech impediment. I didn’t see that - I saw a young girl with a lot of ambition and excitement. I really feel like she came out of her shell because we treated her like a human being. It was one of the most rewarding days that summer, and Courtney and I still reminisce about this story.

What happened next was the real tipping point for me, and it had a major influence on why I got into student affairs.

The first week of September, Sarah, Ray, and Nat held one-on-one’s to provide feedback and get suggestions for next year from each orientation leader. I didn’t know what to expect and I definitely went into the meeting very timid. That changed quickly - I sat there and just a few minutes in, they said “Kevin, do you know you are a leader?” I was shocked at what they said and I answered the question “No, I never saw myself as a leader.” No one ever told me that before. When they said that, something clicked for me. Things haven’t been the same since that moment.

Nathalie demonstrated her belief in my potential yet again a few years later. This past semester, she hired me to present my slide design and presentation workshop to international graduate students at Steven’s Institute of Technology.

How they inspired me:

Ray, Nat and Sarah saw my potential. They saw something in me, but even better they shared what they saw. My outlook on life as I became more involved during my junior and senior year, turned into something completely different than my perspective as a timid new student on campus. The next few posts in my “How I Found My Niche” series will dive into how I became a leader.

What they taught me:

If you are an educator, leader or supervisor don’t let an opportunity to tell someone that they are a leader pass you by. My life would have been vastly different if they never told me about their perception of me in that one meeting. Even if they were thinking it, I would never have known unless they said something. Always take the moment to ‘say something.’


We are often our toughest critics, and will put ourselves in boxes. For instance, I put myself in the ‘shy kid’ box, I’ve seen students put themselves in the ‘not good at school’ box, and so on. Look outward for help on finding your niche. Ask others what they see in you. You may be surprised to hear what your supervisor, mentor, or friends think of you.


Day 2 - Pushing Your Comfort Zone


marriage, happiness, movement, love your job, love my job, hate my job, married, wife, husband, fox hole, be happy, job, job search I remember it like it was yesterday. We were half way through our Spring semester - sophomore year and Courtney suggested I apply to become an orientation leader (she, of course, had already applied). At this time, we knew each other for a year and a half and only held the title of “boyfriend and girlfriend” for maybe 5 months.

My first reaction to her suggestion, “Oh, she just wants me to apply so we don’t have to be apart for the summer.” I still to this day believe that, but she had the inkling that a) I was qualified, b) it would change me for the better, and c) I would be a great role model for Fairleigh Dickinson’s incoming students. Well, I hate to admit it, but she was right.

Needless to say, Courtney, myself and 16 others (Ruben Henao, Dina Deleasa, Mike Sorbino, Michelle Rodriguez to name a few) went on to become FDU’s 2004 Orientation Leaders and boy, was it a summer that changed my life for the better. You’ll meet Ray, Nat, and Sarah later on in my #HowIFoundMyNiche series, but these group of individuals have had a huge impact on where I am today. Needless to say, applying and accepting to be an orientation leader is one of top 5 “leap of faith's” I have taken.

Anyway, back to Courtney. See, after 13 years (4 years of marriage) she still knows what's good for me even if I don’t see it. She knows how to motivate me, kick my ass when I need it, and pick me back up when I’m at the bottom. (Thank you for that.) Her work ethic has always amazed me and scared me at the same time. When she finds something she is passionate about, she goes all in and will do whatever it takes to get it done. And that’s what I love about being able to spend the rest of my life with her.

It’s like that Nascar drafting theory - the more ambitious either of us are, we always find a way to keep up, tailing right behind one another. When I see Courtney’s hard work pay off, I see the value of the hustle I’ve been putting in and know it will all be worth it sooner or later.

For those of you reading this that know Courtney, then you know the head she has on her shoulders. For those of you that don’t, then I suggest you connect with her ASAP. She has an uncanny ability to put others ahead of herself and go the extra mile.

I’m fortunate to have someone like her to bounce ideas off of and receive her help when I ask (and especially when I don’t ask).

How they inspired me:

If it’s not clear from the above, Courtney has made a huge impact on me. She provides light at the end of the tunnel, helps me solve a lot of problems in work and life, and always helps me see the optimistic side of things.

What they taught me:

Lately, Courtney has taught me I need to find the silver lining and be the most positive and proactive version of myself.

Overall, she has taught me not to give up on my dreams, big or small.


What I’d like you to take away:

1. If someone you trust and that knows you well suggests you try something new or put yourself out there, listen to them and do it. Take that leap of faith. Push your comfort zone.

2. When you find that person you can be in the fox hole with day in and day out, don’t let them go and work hard as hell to keep them in your life.

Skip the 4.0


Student leadership student affairs grades graduation college It is a hectic, stressful, hair-graying, frustrating, schedule-juggling, if-she-emails-me-one-more-time beautiful and life-changing experience. It is college and it is freakin’ awesome. They say that students nowadays are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money to obtain a higher education that offers the “full college experience.” Let’s get one thing straight: I can tell you right now they don’t mean classes. Universities across the nation are raising tuition costs left and right because, among other expenses, they are competing with one another to offer all the different programs, services and opportunities young America is so desperately looking for.

Why, then, is so much emphasis put on academics? Although academic success is necessary, I mean, you are paying for it after all, the most important aspect of college is not killing yourself to get the best grade possible. It’s not pulling unhealthy all-nighters or being the first person to raise your hand after the professor’s every question. College life is about succeeding in the classroom while also participating in extracurricular activities that help to develop you as a student and as a potential employee. What matters is your ability to maintain that strong grade point average while also keeping up some sort of interactive, non-academic life. The ability to juggle your overall student experience - classes, work, clubs, fun - is what employers want to see because once college is over, you’ll need to juggle a whole lot more - work, bills, commute, life. And this is what you’re paying for.

 As a Rutgers student I was involved with the Student Life department since my college career began. I served on a few different student organizations and volunteer groups, both run by the Student Life department. Through my involvement with the department, I became an official member of the Student Life family, which at RU is a very highly recognized and respected group of talented, enthusiastic and innovative students. Along with Student Life, I was involved with Dining Services, Career Services and Athletics. Unfortunately, I had to graduate but – here’s the good news – unlike many post-grads, I graduated with a job offer.

My full-time job, however, was not earned from my degree or my course studies or my grades. I got this job because I had experience in programming, event-planning and leadership. Being involved in college can help you to learn many desired work-related skills such as time management, problem solving, and responsibility. But it can also do so much more, trust me. Becoming involved in organizations and clubs while in school can help you to build lifelong friendships, develop your leadership skills and most importantly build a strong, close-knit network of professionals for your job search. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

The first and easiest part about getting involved at school is that you get to make friends! It is highly likely that the groups you join will comprise students with similar interests, otherwise, why join the group? These settings are a great place to blow off some steam about school and have some fun while doing it. Not to mention, there is almost always free food at student events so you’ll even get a free meal every once in a while. Score! You can try new things like different cultural foods, recreational activities and explore new locations on campus. Although many organizations have obligations to meet and goals to accomplish, somehow it doesn’t seem so bad getting things done with friends.

Secondly, organizing different programs, meetings, and conferences can be very difficult even for professionals. Getting involved on campus will deliver you the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities required in the professional world. Even as an underclassman, you can find a plethora of leadership opportunities on campus from becoming a general member of an organization to starting your own club. These kinds of activities are huge resume boosters as they prove to potential employers that you are able to lead a group of students and act in a professional manner to complete a goal. As a student leader, other students will come to you for advice, suggestions and mentoring. Over the course of your years in school, you can move up the ladder and take on leadership responsibilities as you become more skilled. The progression in leadership will show employers that you are capable, reliable and dedicated.

Not only will you make friends and become a leader, you’ll have unlimited opportunities to network with the extremely talented professional staff at your school. As a student leader you can meet professionals from many offices including career services, academic advising, dining services and many, many more. The professional staff are excellent references and resources to have in your future as they will be the people you work very closely with to progress your student’s organization. These people will be able to vouch for your success as an involved student and employers will trust their expertise more so than, say, a professor who barely knows your name. Your place as an involved student will also get you to experience diversity, first hand. Interaction with other students, faculty, and staff, creates an opportunity to learn something about yourself, others and the world around you.

You may be thinking, “Why would I want to take on more work?” or “I don’t have time for anything else.” My argument is that when you’re doing something you love, work is not a job. Being involved at school shouldn’t be perceived as a chore. It is an amazing, life-changing opportunity to meet people who are both similar to and different than you. Your training and experiences will give you specific skills and abilities that employers are looking for. And you’ll significantly expand your network of references by interacting with professional staff members who care about you and your future. So I ask you today...please don’t be a 4.0 try-hard. Don’t be that kid. Be the kid who couldn’t ask for a better college experience.

10 Real World Tips for the Class of 2014


The class of 2014 is about to graduate. These students will leave campus with an abundance of skills and new perspectives from the many experiences they had in and outside the classroom. However, there are always a few things that don't necessarily "fit" into a workshop or make it into a classroom discussion. These concepts and tips are the things many of our students end up learning the hard way.

While I am all for the "live and learn" school of thought, I believe our students need a heads up on what lies ahead in TODAY'S "real world" as it relates to life and their career. So, I am sharing my 10 tips, and I hope they give the class of 2014 some new things to think about as they proceed on their journey of life "post-graduation."

1. Don't settle until you're happy. Especially in your careers, relationships, or a project your working on.

2. Become a linchpin within your organization. What happens when a linchpin is removed from a grenade? An explosion. On paper, anyone can do the work written in the job description. But if you want to be irreplaceable, you must understand you need to bring a unique personality, intangible skills, and something new to your organization.

3. Always be launching. This tip is from the term rapid prototyping a group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part. It's easy to get so wrapped up into perfection, procrastination, or fear of what others will think. If it will take you to the next step, launch it. You can always tweak it later.

4. Skip the new car and the fancy clothes.  At the very least, most of you will have student loans to payback. Bills can add up quickly, but if you are looking to make a pivot in your career or take that job you love with little pay, now is the time to be frugal and not get wrapped up our “consumer-centric” society.

5. There is no gatekeeper. It's 2014 and every bit of information is at our fingertips and on our smartphones. There is no longer an excuse that you can't find someone's email, unable to connect via twitter, or find out who to address a cover letter to.

6. Find a way to standout. Using tip #5, you must spend more time standing out than trying to fit in. Want to land that dream job? Then spend a week focusing on 2-3 companies you want to work for rather than 20 and figure out who you can network with, who to talk to, and creative ways to get your name to the top. A great book to pass along to your students is Bold: Get Noticed, Get Hired.

7. Meet new people in your network. Find someone in your area of work or something you are passionate about and contact them. Set up a time to grab coffee, a drink, lunch or dinner and see how you can each add value to each other's endeavors. Repeat this tip at least once per month.

8. Create a boutique career. Last year I heard the term "boutique career" when I interviewed Alena Gerst and she said that it should be common for Generation Y to have jobs, projects, and careers outside of their "day" job. Enter the term boutique careers. With the resources we have available and low cost of entry, it's easier now, more than ever, to start an Etsy shop, freelance, or become a part-time entrepreneur. At the end of the day, this helps your students build their personal brand, work on something they believe in, and open up new doors. Side note: More organizations need to support this new concept.

9.  It's ok if you don't have it all figured out. We've all heard this saying before, but it needs to be said over and over again, especially to recent graduates. Unfortunately, many of our talented students are going to have a long road ahead of them to find a job, let alone find a job they love. Society and academia put so much pressure on college graduates to have it all figured out come May 15th of their graduating year. The reality is, it is going to take time, life experiences and relationships that pivot our students in several different directions. Just let them know, before they recieve their diploma, that everything will be "ok" as long as they stay motivated and work hard.

10. Write your own rulebook. If your students don't have it all figured out or if they have something they are really passionate about, tell them to go after it full-speed ahead. Generation Y receives a lot of pushback  and criticism from older generations, but look at some of the amazing start-ups, non-profits and young leaders we have all under the age of 30. It's their time pave their own path and write their own book.

Those are my tips for the class of 2014. What would you add? Which ones resonated with you the most?