Don’t procrastinate the end of procrastination

by Marissa Ochoa

I remember the beginning of the semester like it was yesterday. I had my notebooks organized and I told myself this semester was going to be different. At first, my second-semester motto was, “Keep up with the homework and do the readings.” But every student knows that idea is never played out past the first couple of weeks.

[quote]No matter if one buys the latest study guides or the best planners, he or she is going to end up getting wrapped up in other priorities and start to push homework to the side.[/quote] Suddenly, students end up in trouble when they find out their midterms are a week away and they haven’t even read passed chapter one.

Recently, I had one midterm sneak up on me that had me up past midnight studying flashcards and cramming every chapter I regretted skipping. So much for the second-semester motto. It’s a vicious circle that not many students can get out of. Procrastination is inevitable to most and it can really stress a student out.

Most of the time, I blame teachers for piling on assignment after assignment and leaving students so overwhelmed they just end up ignoring the workload. Assigning 30-40 pages of reading doesn’t sound very appealing. However, I can vouch that professors’ assignments aren’t the only factors contributing to procrastination.

Most college students end up procrastinating. Some enjoy working under the pressure, but others unfortunately don’t know how to manage time efficiently. New Directions for Higher Education’s 1997 survey confirmed that procrastination leads to an unlikelihood of completing courses. So, if procrastination leads to ultimate failure, why do students partake?

[quote]One theory is plain underestimation. Caitlin Lenker’s and Dan McAndrew’s “The Procrastination Epidemic: An Investigative Report” suggests students believe most schoolwork is unnecessary and doesn’t need to be immediately done.[/quote] Some students’ assignments require a lot of time to finish. Most students don’t have huge blocks of time available. So they wait until the weekend to start schoolwork. Let’s not forget that in general, people like to play now and work later. Who can do homework when there’s a basketball game? With all of these alternate factors affecting students, it’s no wonder procrastination is as common as taking 15 units.

That’s where the problem lies. Students like to think that schoolwork comes secondary to anything else in life. When one is involved in so many activities, it’s easy to sweep schoolwork under the rug.  I don’t think students’ lives need to revolve around classes, but I do think that time management is a huge benefit for anybody’s academic and social life.

Instead of waiting for the night before to finish an assignment, break it up incrementally throughout the week so it’s not too overwhelming. Take a break in between your study sessions. There are so many ways to keep up with your schoolwork and activities and it’s problematic that most aren’t utilized.

However, I understand that things are easier said than done. I’ve been there. I can plan out my assignments down to the last detail, but I will never actually follow it. But procrastination habits can’t continue into the post0college years. [quote]Waiting until the last minute in any lifelong career is detrimental to your job and health.[/quote]

I know it’s harder than ever to break the cycle of procrastination. So many assignments are due, yet students find themselves more involved in sports teams or clubs than academic classes. But one thing that most students, including myself, forget is that education is and should be a top priority. In the end, every student is here for one thing–a degree.

Whether someone is an undergraduate or graduate student, leaving schoolwork on the back burner is a sure fire way to make classes infinitely more difficult than they should be.  Mid-semester is the perfect time to re-evaluate study methods and decipher whether they’re working or not. It’s not too late to dig your way out of a shaky start to the semester. Everybody is capable of managing schoolwork. All it takes is smart prioritization and less procrastination.


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