Well into midterm season, college students across campus feel the stress of studying for exams and the anxiety that comes with testing. But while hours melt away before the dreaded confrontation with blue books and scantrons, about 80 to 95 percent of those same college students procrastinate doing their work.
According to an article in Scientific American Mind, the lifestyle of an average college student, with a rigorous academic schedule and frat party distractions, is the reason that student procrastinators exist in such high proportions.
As a college student and self-admitted procrastinator, I wonder — is procrastination really that bad? Is there anything I can do about it, or is it just inevitable?
Seven types of procrastination have been discussed in scholarly articles, books and blogs: mañana (“I’ll do it tomorrow), contingent mañana (“I’ll do it tomorrow if…), grasshopperism (“I need to have fun beforehand”), escapism (“I need to get out of here and clear my head”), impulsiveness (“I need to change my major/ my university”), music and reading (“I’ll relax and then I’ll do it”) and cavalry to the rescue (“Tomorrow will be a snow day and class will be cancelled”) — though the last is not a common excuse in Southern California, of course.
There is no doubt that procrastination is common among university students. Just Googling “procrastination” gave me several hits to confirm this belief.
The health drawbacks of procrastination, both physical and psychological, are quite alarming and very noticeable, from possible formations of insomnia to a weakened immune system.
In an article in Psychology Today, Dr. Joseph Ferrari of De Paul University in Chicago and Dr. Timothy Pychyl, director of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, revealed that 20 percent of people around the world are self-identified “chronic procrastinators” (such as myself). Additionally, the United States might have a larger percentage of those procrastinators than the rest of the world, according to the article.
In several blog entries, Dr. Pychyl goes as far as denouncing procrastination as a thief of meaning, life and happiness.
But let’s face it, not all procrastinators are the thrill-seeking, relationship-ruining, irrational people that doctors make them out to be. Deadlines keep college students in check, and, procrastination or not, the work gets done; life moves on.
How can university students stop when so many distractions exist, from Facebook and College Humor to FMyLife and Texts From Last Night?
And with long nights at “Club Leavey” with your friends cramming, fueled by late-night caffeine stops at TroGro, procrastination is also a shared social experience.
It seems that procrastination is inevitable, but just like all things, students have to exercise moderation when choosing to put things off until later.
Ironically enough, I procrastinated right before writing this article. I told myself the reason why I procrastinated was because I was doing experimental behavioral research on the subject. I even congratulated myself on being topical.
When it comes down to it, they’re all excuses. My procrastination was spent watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory, hanging out with my friends, catching up on politics and news, and listening to music. As the poet Edward Young once said, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” What if we want our time whiled away sometimes? Perhaps that procrastination isn’t such a bad thing after all.
In the end, it is better to be a procrastinator and still get things done than to be a flake and not follow through. Procrastinators are perhaps productive outside of academic deadlines and work projects. It seems that if you are a procrastinator you might not be losing out too much. In fact, there is a very real hope of success for procrastinators; after all, I finished this article.
Miruna Barnoschi is a freshman majoring in international relations.