Kim: How to say no to friends and get that assignment done

USQ blogger KimKim is a USQ alumna who studied a Bachelor of Business (Marketing and Leadership) and Master of Management. She originally came from the small South-Western Queensland town of Mitchell, and spent five years living at Steele Rudd College in Toowoomba. She enjoys curling up with a good novel, baking cakes and biscuits, and watching the Big Bang Theory.

It’s Friday afternoon and you have an assignment due Monday. You sit down, read the assignment task and begin to do your research. All is going well and then…

‘Buzz buzz’

You didn’t turn your phone off and your friends have texted you wondering if you’re still keen to catch up tonight. You reply that you have an assignment to do so you can’t make it, but you will catch up with them next weekend.

‘Buzz buzz buzz’

Your phone rings and you reluctantly answer. You know what’s coming. All of your friends have been conferenced into the call.

‘It’s just a couple of hours tonight’, one friend says.

‘You promised you would make it this weekend’, another insists.

‘But we already made the plans, you can’t back out now’, another cries.

‘I really need to do this assignment, I’ve already received an extension’, you explain to them.

‘It’s already late’, your best mate jokes. ‘What’s one extra day going to matter?’

The cursor on your computer blinks at you. You have lots of work to do. You’re already pushing the deadline and are unsure if you can get the assignment finished on time.

Not all of your friends are students and they have trouble understanding why your assignment is so important. You really want to do well at uni, after all, your degree could potentially set you up for the rest of your life. But, you don’t want to disappoint your friends. What do you do? How do you say no to your friends and other social pressures and work hard to still meet your study deadlines?

The above scenario is one that many of us are familiar with and some of us handle the situation better than others. Some of us can say no while some of us give in, meet up with our friends and submit the assignment late, incomplete, or work that is of a poor standard. These four tips will help you say no to your friends once in a while and help you balance your study and social lives.

  1. Explain to your friends that you have study to do: 
    Tell them why study is so important to you. You want to use your nursing skills to help people, your teaching skills to educate people, your engineering skills to build cool things, your business skills to start a venture you have always dreamed of, or your music skills to start an awesome band and make great music. You’ve put in so much hard work and don’t want it to all come undone now.

  2. Make a compromise: 
    Explain to your friends that if you get this assignment in and feel like you did a good job, you’ll be able to catch up for longer next weekend and be 100% present and focussed on their company. Better yet, talk about how epic the party will be when you can celebrate your graduation! 

  3. Ask your friends for their support: 
    Make your friends feel involved. By asking them for support, it lets them feel like they’re part of your study experience too. They can offer you the support that you need to get through those long nights of study and the stress of exams. Not to mention the late-night coffee and snack runs! 

  4. Don’t forget to have fun: 
    You don’t always have to say no. You don’t want to burn yourself out by sitting in front of the computer screen for too long. Have fun and remember that it is OK to spend time on things that make you happy. Just be honest with yourself about how evenly you’re dividing your time between fun and study. 

Ultimately, you’re at uni to get your degree and get to where you want to go in life. It’s important to have a balance between your study and social life, but remember that study is only a part of your life for a short period of time. You will have the time to catch up with your friends during uni holidays and after you finish your degree. Remember to keep focused on the reason you’re studying and surround yourself with supportive people.

If you’ve made the decision to stay in this weekend, get the most of out of your study time with Ann-Marie’s tips for fending off procrastination. Heading out with friends? Keep your student budget in check and have some frugal fun!


Eliza: You v. Your BFFL. Dealing with peer competition

Andrea: 5 pitfalls of study procrastination and how to quit

Ann-Marie: Helpful strategies to beat study procrastination