2021-2-12

Today vs. Tomorrow

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

A popular adage advises, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Mangled comic versions go something like this: “Never put off till tomorrow what may be put off until the day after tomorrow.”

Procrastination seems to touch many of us, at least occasionally. We embrace distractions, avoid doing what ought to be done, and trust future luck to meet needs, oftentimes at the adrenaline-filled last minute.

There is even a holiday recognizing this tendency, National Procrastination Week. In keeping with its theme of putting off tasks, the week can be observed during the first two weeks of March, or at another more convenient time.

I have personal experience with procrastination. I tend to procrastinate when it’s time to shop for Christmas gifts. I convince myself that I might catch the best deals by shopping on Christmas Eve. You can guess how it goes. Items are often sold out, prices are rarely good deals, and lines are long.

I also tend to procrastinate when it’s time to cut the grass. I figure the task can wait. The grass will still be there when I get around to it. Unfortunately, when I succumb to this type of thinking the grass keeps growing. It grows so tall I need to take two or three passes just to get rid of all the clumps.

People procrastinate for many reasons. They put off doing tasks they think they will dislike or that will require more effort than they want to expend at a particular moment. They overestimate the likelihood of feeling more motivated in the future. And, some people avoid attempting anything that may yield imperfect results because they fear failure.

James Clear, author of the bestseller Atomic Habits, offers several tips for overcoming procrastination. One is to make tasks more achievable by breaking them down into small steps, and then taking the first tiny step. He writes, “Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it.”

At Southside Virginia Community College, many of our students make a similar discovery when they take the first step in pursuit of postsecondary education goals by registering for classes. A current student who is on track to graduate this December explains her own journey: “Even though I attended college right after high school, I never obtained a degree.” She goes on to say, “That started to bother me after a while, but by that time it seemed too difficult to do.”

It wasn’t until her children were grown and her youngest child was attending college that she resolved to stop procrastinating. “I decided it was time. SVCC sounded like the best approach, so I applied, registered, filled out the FAFSA, and requested transcripts.”

At first, she first feared the road ahead. She says she “thought I might not be able to get it all done, but here I am. Everyone at SVCC has been so kind, patient, helpful, and encouraging, and I am so grateful.”

If your education goals include obtaining a college degree, industry-recognized credentials, or other certifications, it’s time to take your first step. Registration for summer classes begins on March 15, and FastForward Credential Programs are available with upcoming start dates. Scholarships are available, and many of the FastForward Credential Programs are “Tuition Free”! So, don’t procrastinate. Visit southside.edu for more information.

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Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu

Virginia Department of Health Launches COVIDWISE Express as Additional Tool to Boost Exposure Notifications

New additional platform informs iPhone users of potential exposure to COVID-19 without having to download an app. 

(Richmond, Va.) — Virginia is making it even easier for people to be notified of potential exposures to COVID-19. Last week, the Virginia Department of Health launched COVIDWISE Express, a new app-less exposure notifications technology for iPhone users in Virginia who do not already have the COVIDWISE app installed.  Anonymously sending and receiving exposure notifications has never been easier. Since launching, COVIDWISE Express already has more than 504,000 users in Virginia.

COVIDWISE Express, which is available in both English and Spanish, will work solely on iPhones that have not installed COVIDWISE. When an iPhone user enables Exposure Logging on their smartphone, their device will automatically use the app-less experience, if the user hasn’t already downloaded COVIDWISE.  The Express version of COVIDWISE works by communicating with a test verification server and the national key server at specific times, all while protecting the user’s privacy and location data. Android users, and iPhone users who already have the app, will continue to use COVIDWISE. 

“COVIDWISE Express provides an additional option to help Virginia expand its existing exposure notifications and contact tracing operations without compromising user privacy or security,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “This technology will notify you if you’ve likely been exposed to another smartphone user who anonymously shared a positive COVID-19 test result. Knowing your exposure history allows you to self-quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce risk of exposing others.”

COVIDWISE launched on August 5, 2020 and has surpassed 994,000 downloads, making it one of the two most downloaded exposure notification apps in the United States. The free app, which is available through the App Store and the Google Play Store, alerts users if they have been in close contact with an individual who anonymously reported their positive COVID-19 test result. 

On December 10, COVIDWISE began using the Association of Public Health Laboratories’ National Key Server, which allows COVIDWISE to work across D.C. and 19 states that have similar exposure notifications systems.  This helps to ensure users receive exposure notifications, if exposed to persons from a participating jurisdiction. 

VDH remains steadfastly committed to COVIDWISE privacy protections and continued adoption and widespread use of exposure notifications as a tool to support the public’s health and reduce the spread of the virus.

To learn more about COVIDWISE options, or to download the app, visit www.covidwise.org.

For more information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

McEachin to VDH on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Concerns: “These Issues Must be Addressed Immediately”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) sent a letter to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) regarding VDH's COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts throughout the commonwealth. The letter commended VDH for its ongoing work, but also advocated for improvements to its coordination efforts in rural communities and communities of color.

McEachin noted that the Crater Health District, located in his congressional district, has received the sixth-lowest amount of vaccines of Virginia’s 35 health districts and cited similar concerns with vaccine administration in communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. In Richmond, there were initially no vaccination sites in the predominantly Black and Latino communities south of the James River.

“While I appreciate the work you have already done and will continue to do, it is clear that these issues must be addressed immediately,” said McEachin. “Every vaccine that goes unused could save a grandparent’s life, a teacher’s life, or a frontline worker’s life – and we must do everything in our power to protect as many Virginians as possible. With new variants of the virus and the potential for case numbers to continue to rise, families, seniors, teachers, and frontline health workers across the Commonwealth are understandably terrified, and we must work to instill confidence in our state and local departments of health.”

McEachin’s letter to the Virginia Department of Health can be found here.

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