Even as I write this article, I find myself struggling with procrastination–waiting until the last minute to finish everything and hoping it all works out in the end. No matter how much I understand and know that “the more time I spend on a project, the better the grade I will get,” I still manage to become distracted with other aspects of life.
As a senior, it’s not uncommon to become burnt out or want the process to take as long as possible so as to delay graduation and the uncertainty of finding careers and “adulting”. From being addicted to social media to simply staring at the books and thinking, “what could I do now so I can do that later?” makes for a bad, but hard to break, habit of procrastination. Add in some excuses and a few miraculous A’s and you get a bad case of senioritis, where the procrastination never stops but instead spirals you down into the hellish stress zone of finals week.
As much as I try to avoid Facebook, SnapChat or Twitter, the glow of my phone screen always entices me to look–“just for five minutes” I tell myself in my mind (but really, who has ever heard of anybody only looking at social media for only five minutes?). It doesn’t matter that I know I should be reading or planning my project due tomorrow at midnight, I have time for a quick social media check.
Or, if I feel like I could conquer some assignments, I’ll turn off my phone – hide it or give it to a friend, sounds like a great idea! I make a list of everything I need to do, set some reminders to make sure I finish certain deadlines due that night and get cranking. That lasts about ten minutes until I have the study grumbles.
The study grumbles is a very unique sort of grumbles in the abdomen region where the stomach will make various loud noises, often accompanied with slight discomfort, most often confused with hunger. However, it’s quite easy to appease the study grumbles — eat some form of greasy, cheesy or sugary junk food that you crave most of the time but you usually remind yourself of it’s unhealthy attributes.
So, almost immediately after I “get cranking” on homework, I need to eat. This, unfortunately, requires more time to either go to the vending machine or dining hall and further delays my progress.
However, as much as I enjoy the internet and eating food instead of doing homework, I usually come to realize (around 9 or 10pm) that although I have been acting carefree and organized all day, I am really a stressed out mess that has two deadlines, an essay, two projects and a lot of reading. I go from one extreme to the other as my anxiety reaches my consciousness and I begin to actually work on homework.
In the wee hours of the morning, I come to realize how much anxiety and stress I could have prevented as I pour my skills into my skim reading and essay editing– in addition to the hours of sleep I would have enjoyed and taken for granted. At least I know I’m not the only one, as friends offer to help edit essays at 3 am because they too are up, and the sleepy people come out to the vending machines to get energy drinks. As a friend texted me this morning when I mentioned to him I didn’t quite finish a reading, “should’ve been like me and not sleep ;P.”
What should be done about this procrastinating phenomenon that always seems to catch this time of the semester? Well, there’s the most obvious solution — set goals to finish a small task and complete them by the time you set. There’s also the common tactic of sticky notes or reminders to get individual tasks/assignments done, with the pleasure of peeling them off and basketballing them into the trash when finished. An amusing one is to set small rewards, like gummy bears, for every page you finish reading (I’ve actually seen several people use this and it seems to work pretty good).
In any case, I suggest my fellow rams to keep trying and slowly climb out of the pit of procrastination. One day, we will be deadline rock stars — but until then, see you in the study room.
Nightlife Writer Anna Hoover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Hoovanna_Disny. Leave a comment!!