By Jack Kannapell
A few weeks ago, over thanksgiving break, I was writing a paper on the Great Gatsby for my AP Language class when my aunt asked me what I was doing. I told her the paper was due in three days and I wanted to take care of it before thanksgiving, she looked bewildered. She also had two papers due the same day, both of which had not been started yet, it was now my turn to be perplexed. Her explanation as to why she waited until the last minute to do her paper consisted of a story about a man she knew in college. This man was known to delay his workload until the absolute last day before something needed to be turned in, My aunt told me he went by the philosophy of “It’ll get done”, it might not be the best work he’s ever completed but it would always get done. This is procrastination at it’s finest. Nowadays more and more students are not even starting their homework until the very last second, and this is having a profound affect on their grades, and for some, their health. Something needs to be done to motivate kids enough so that they stop procrastinating, but that’s easier said than done.
No matter what steps are taken to avoid it, procrastination surrounds our society. Whether it be writing thank you cards to your relatives, buying Christmas presents, filling out paperwork, or most importantly; doing school assignments, procrastination is always nearby and it’s becoming harder and harder to escape procrastinations unmotivational grasp. I interviewed a couple B-CC students to get their views on procrastination as well as the affects it has on their life and I got relatively the same answers. Ian Rosenblum, junior here at B-CC, explained to me that after soccer season he gets home at about 2:40 every day. His homework however is not started until at least 6 or even as late as 7 pm. In the hours he spends not doing his homework, Ian says “I normally go straight to bed when I get home from school, and when I wake up I might play on my phone or watch T.V. until I feel like I need to start my homework.” Every day though, Ian repeats the same routine of starting his homework very late in the night which consequently results in him not finishing until late at night. “When I procrastinate, which is nearly every day, I normally stay up till at least 12 am doing work that could have been finished hours before. When I don’t get enough sleep I tend to be very tired in school and I don’t perform as well as I can.” Procrastination is not something that only damages one’s ability to function in school, but procrastination also can be very detrimental to the quality of the school work that is being postponed. Spencer Sampson, another B-CC junior, says, “Normally when I procrastinate I stay up way later than I’d like to or I’ll get up disturbingly early to get my unfinished work done. Either way, when I procrastinate I’m always way too tired to focus on the work I’m doing which can hurt my grades at school.” Spencer, like Ian, finds that when he is procrastinating, he is receiving far less sleep than the average teen should get. “It’s almost like a cycle,” Spencer says. “When I procrastinate I stay up very late, when I stay up very late I am very tired the next day, when I’m very tired the next day I take a nap when I get home, when I take a nap this normally results in me procrastinating.” It’s like that kids book goes, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, except now it’s, if you give teens some school work.
The procrastination cycle is something very hard to break out of. I would know. At least three days a week I get less than 4 hours of sleep because I wait till the last minute to start work that I had all day to do. But I can’t do it because I get home and I sleep until it’s late enough to start my homework. I, like many others have observed the noticeable effects that procrastination can have on my sleep pattern which is very important to my health, as well as my school work pattern which is very crucial to my future. People say, “Why don’t you just start your work earlier and then you can have all the time in the world after you finish?” Well, I like many other people do not function that way. Although I agree that something needs to be done, it is a lot harder than many think to one day exclaim, “Oh let’s all of a sudden do all of my homework today right when I get home!” Procrastination is something that not only affects students at B-CC but it is a global phenomenon, causing 95% of college students to damage their own grades as well as their health. If we as a community want to solve the problem of procrastination, I think a solution could somehow provide more motivation for the students in school, but then again that’s been people’s solution to procrastination for years and look where it’s gotten us.