Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Students battle procrastination

It’s the monster on your shoulder telling you there are better things to do. It’s your friends calling you to play outside, get a bite to eat or play video games. It’s social media and your ability to scroll for hours without realizing how much time has passed.

Procrastination can be the killer of accomplishing goals in a timely manner.

College is a time to grow, and it is also a place to learn how to balance 20 things at once.

From assignments and work, to extracurricular activities and relaxing, a student has to learn to handle everything that gets thrown at them.

Associate Director of Academic Advising Elizabeth Bernat said there are two types of procrastinators.

There is the “lazy procrastinator” who doesn’t worry about anything that needs to be done and will cram in bursts to meet deadlines, and then will go back to their relaxed state immediately after.

“Lazy procrastinators” believe they work better under pressure, when in reality they don’t know anything different than being under pressure.

The second type is an “anxious procrastinator.” They look at lists of tasks that need to be accomplished, and it becomes daunting.

They are the people who worry about not getting their work done and complain about it — ending up in an “endless cycle of guilt, shame and anxiety that their work isn’t done.”

“Anxious procrastinators” are never doing nothing. They take smaller tasks that don’t intimidate them as much and check those items off the list first.

Director of Career Development Center Julia Overton-Healy said, “They don’t want to fail or be wrong, so they’d rather just not do it until you know you are going to do it right.” This is a fairly common approach, Overton-Healy said.

For those who have always waited until the last minute, college can be difficult to get acclimated with the workload, and finding time to get everything done can be a challenge.

“Procrastination is more prevalent in the first years of college,” Overton-Healy said. “As pressures of looming adulthood make themselves felt in junior and senior year, there is a very real demand, and it forces upper level students to be more proactive.”

For junior Joe Nagiub, his first year of college was much different than his high school experience.

“I need to study a couple days before hand, and I have to keep up with my homework to get good grades,” he said. “Whereas, when I was in high school, I could study the night before, do the minimum and still get good grades.”

There are many distractions that can get in a student’s way when they are trying to get work done.

Bernat has discovered a “trinity” of the biggest so-called “time-wasters,” from her research through her undeclared and academic probation students.

She has found that the three most common reasons students procrastinate instead of doing homework are: doing nothing or hanging out, talking about all the work they have to do instead of doing it and binge-watching a series on Netflix. These distractions all lead to the formation of bad habits.

“Just like anything else, procrastination is a habit,” Overton-Healy said. “You can make it or break it. It’s up to you.”

Email Lisa Scivolette at

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