Procrastination is a common college plague

 

Doing homework? Nope, procrastinating by playing Battlefield.

Doing homework? Nope, procrastinating by playing Battlefield.

In undergraduate circles, ‘homework’ is a dirty word. Even from a young age, children would rather be outside and playing rather than adding numbers and studying for spelling tests.

Early on, parents and teachers are involved making sure their students get their work done, in hopes of teaching them responsibility and time management that they can use in the future.

When students enroll in college there is a huge shift, and the weight of getting things done is placed entirely on the students’ shoulders. They are expected to do their work on time, and to the standards of the professor, on their own. Students are expected to build their own schedules, and it is their responsibility to graduate on time.

Most professors do not coddle the students or keep after them to make sure their work is done the way the teachers in the student’s earlier years did. Which is why procrastination is a problem that plagues many college students once they realize the freedom they have of being in charge of their own schedules and lives.

Parents and teachers are no longer hounding them to get their homework done, so depending on the students and the work ethic developed, students have the ability and prerogative to decide when, and if, they complete their work.

According to APA.org (The American Psychology Association), 80 to 95 percent of college students procrastinate, and procrastination is one of the top reasons why college students do not graduate. At Norwich, students exhibit many different views on procrastination and why it happens.

“As a freshman I had my schedule decided for me and most were fairly simple classes,” said Ed Earle, a 24-year-old junior environmental engineering major from San Francisco, Calif., “so the workload wasn’t as difficult, but I didn’t have many friends so I pretty much stuck to my classes and homework.”

Tim Hunter, 21, a junior biology major from Exeter N.H., agrees that he was better at managing his studies as a freshman. “I was definitely more on top of my work when I first I arrived,” Hunter said. “It was a fresh start and I felt as though I had something to prove.”

According to ub-counseling.buffalo.edu, some reasons for procrastination include: poor time management, fear and anxiety, difficulty concentrating, personal problems, finding the work boring, and several others.

Earle said that while keeping focus and managing his time became an issue later, he also feels his class schedule affected his work schedule, and challenged his work ethic. “My class schedule used to be simple and compact, but I began to have longer labs and a longer schedule,” Earle said, “so by the end of the day, I didn’t want to do much work, I wanted to relax with friends.”

Sheyra Concepcion, a 19-year-old freshman political science major from Kissimmee, Fla., agrees that her days are long and prefers to save her homework for the nighttime. “I have a pre-existing health condition that doesn’t allow me to fall asleep very well, so I spend the day with friends, and do all my homework while they sleep,” Concepcion said. “But sometimes I sleep all day and see my friends at night, putting off my work and falling behind.”

Earle agrees that along with his longer, more demanding schedule, he has gained a social life and will favor friends over homework. “I will begin to fall behind on work,” Earle said, “so after a few days with friends, I pull an all-nighter to get my work done.”

Hunter regularly will stay awake all night to catch up on work. “ I pull at least one all-nighter a week,” said Hunter. “But I feel like since I have the momentum going, it is easier for me to do all the work at once.”

While procrastination can cause stress and health issues, according to apa.org, it can also be necessary in prioritizing work.

“I do procrastinate sometimes and I am behind in one of my classes,” said Nate Tomaselli, a 20 year-old sophomore civil engineering major from St. Johnsbury Vt., “but most times I just prioritize because I have more important work and some classes are more important and crucial than others.”

Tomaselli and Earle agree that procrastination is a “hard habit to break.”

“Once you get in the habit of procrastination and reprioritizing, it becomes harder to get the motivation to do the work a little at a time,” Earle said. “It’s easier to find the motivation closer to the due date, because at that point the work needs to be done.”

Hunter said that he wishes he had never allowed himself to form bad habits with work. “After I eventually get the motivation to do the work and stay up all night, I barely make it to classes the next day and usually sleep all day after my classes.”

According to apa.org, procrastination can lead to issues with mental and physical health. Both Earle and Hunter agree that the unhealthy sleeping habits they rely on to do homework at the last minute may affect on their health.

Hunter advises freshmen to try and avoid making the same mistakes he made. “On Thursdays and Fridays, just take an hour or two to go over your notes, rewrite them, or even plan out your study schedule for the week, because being organized and planning ahead can help you avoid putting everything off,” he said.

Earle agrees, saying taking notes and time management are extremely important in keeping procrastination at bay. “Even if it’s an hour or two at night or on the weekends, just do your work a little bit at a time, and make sure you take good notes because it makes completing homework a lot easier to do.”

With finals week looming, most Norwich students are scrambling to get final projects done and prepare for final exams. For procrastinators, it’s a last chance to get on the ‘grind’ sooner rather than later.

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