Procrastination is one of those behaviors that all college students hate, yet we have absolutely no problem turning to procrastination on a regular basis. It gets to the point where a friend will ask me what I am up to, and I tell them that I am just trying to get my mind off of the four-page paper due tomorrow.
Procrastination has become a regular part of my life at college. Many of my peers assume, based on my grades and my honor-student status, that I don’t procrastinate and always get things done ahead of time. Oh, I wish that were true.
I probably spend, on average, at least four hours a day procrastinating. During this time, I peruse my Facebook, get through a game of NBA 2K17, or perhaps watch an episode (or two) of American Horror Story. I always look over at my desk where my planner, which sits wide open, is calling to me to start my most urgent homework assignments. Of course, I always try to put my assignments off for as long as possible before I feel guilty enough to finally get up and get started.
Yet, I never let my procrastination get in the way of my schooling, which is a common mistake that many college students make. Of course, I have nights where I stay up until two or three (or four) in the morning to finish one of my last-minute assignments because I spent the four hours beforehand cleaning every inch of my room, even the ones that didn’t need to be cleaned. However, I don’t do this often.
I know some peers that do this twice a week. I’ll ask them how their day is going and they will complain they will be suffering through their fifth all-nighter of the semester because of their long laundry list of assignments. I find that my friends who have an extreme problem with procrastination are often unsatisfied with their grades.
I believe that the art of procrastination in college can be mastered through moderation. I believe that all students sometimes need to just take some time and do absolutely nothing despite homework. I am a firm believer that these breaks are healthy for relieving stress, as long as the pile of homework following these breaks isn’t as high as Mount Everest.
I think there are three types of procrastinators on a college campus: there are uber procrastinators, rare procrastinators, and smart procrastinators.
Uber procrastinators are the ones who will continuously pile up projects and papers until the last possible second to complete them all. These students may even have past-due assignments in addition to the multiple other assignments that are due within 48 hours (and that’s a liberal number of hours). Still, you will find them glued to their social media, roaming around campus with their friends, or doing activities like “stress-baking.” They will get their act together sooner or later and will hand in their assignments, which were completed in the most half-assed way possible for a passing grade.
Rare procrastinators are students who literally binge on work until everything is completed, and then do even more work after that. I feel like these students are few and far between, but I know a handful of these students on my campus. My girlfriend happens to be one of them. These students will rarely procrastinate, but will still find themselves stressed out when life gets crazy and they are unable to keep up with being four-weeks ahead in their classes.
Lastly, there are smart procrastinators. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I consider myself a smart procrastinator. I procrastinate a fair amount on a regular basis and sometimes pull late-nighters to get an assignment done. However, I usually do this when the assignment I have sounds like the most awful thing ever. When I have assignments that actually sound fun to me, I find myself better able to sit down and complete it ahead of time. When I have an assignment that tempts me to jump out my third-story window, I will save it because I know that the sense of urgency created when it gets to crunch time will inspire me to focus on it better and even do a great job on it.
I think that I do enough procrastination and have good enough grades to prove I am a smart procrastinator. As I said before, I procrastinate for roughly four hours a day, and I still have a 3.9 G.P.A. That is because I think before I procrastinate. I don’t mindlessly put off huge amounts of work because I don’t want to do it. That’s just stupid. I also don’t work for eight hours straight to get things done because I know I will feel even more stressed out and I won’t put in the effort to get a good grade. I would be more apt to completing it as fast as possible just to be done with it.
The key is to procrastinate in moderation. I think that it is an important part of self-care and mental health to take short breaks before completing assignments. Just make sure to take the amount of time and amount of work that you have into consideration.
Most teachers, parents, doctors, scientists, and psychologists will tell you that procrastinating is a bad thing and that you should do everything you can to avoid it. I whole-heartedly disagree. College is too stressful to completely avoid procrastination, but it is also too important to rely on procrastination as your go-to stress reliever. You don’t have to be a homework-binging cyborg, just be smart about it.