Procrastination is a good thing

As college students, procrastination is built into our DNA. No matter how many times your parents tell you that your number one job is to be a student and that all the rest comes after, we’re inclined to put less important things first because we’re still kids at heart. We want to stay out late at parties and sleep in until noon the next day.

Sometimes watching a movie with your roommates seems a lot more appealing than working on that paper you know is due really soon. Ultimately, procrastinating isn’t the work thing in the world, unless you overdo it.

There is a certain sincerity in the pressure of being increasingly close to the due date of an assignment that really puts our intellectual pursuits into high gear.

Our research is likely to be more effective and direct because we know that there is zero time for tomfoolery. If you have 3 weeks to write a paper, when you’re Google searching (or Wikipedia-ing) for past and present articles on space travel, you’re more likely to wander off into that somewhat-but-not-really-related page on the 1995 film Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon.

Three hours later, you’re quoting Forrest Gump and have no clue that the government recently canceled the space program.

On the other hand, if you left yourself just enough time to physically complete the assignment, you’ll be well aware that you have absolutely no time for dilly-dallying in useless web pages. Under time pressure, reading a page in a book becomes more effective.

Rather than half-sleeping and half skimming the words on the page like you would if you were abusing your time, you’re more likely to be an active reader and read quickly and thoroughly, searching for key words to help you with your task.

The obvious elephant in the room is that a most of the time, procrastinating means that you haven’t actually left yourself enough time to complete your work.

Unfortunately, this is an art to be mastered. Most of us know ourselves as students and know how our minds and bodies work. Try to actively familiarize yourself with you own work ethic so you can determine how much time is just enough.

Another positive side of this situation is that it helps us prepare for working hard under stress. Many of us will go out into the real world and not be prepared for the speed and standard at which we’re expected to work. It’s a good idea to get some practice working quickly under pressure or time restraints, while also doing your job well.

Keep in mind procrastinating schoolwork is merely an exercise. When you work in a real job, it won’t look that great if you don’t start your projects until the last minute.

College is a time where you work out all the kinks of the well-oiled machine that is you. Work it out and learn how procrastination can benefit your overall learning process.

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