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Academic Procrastination - A Malady of a Nation

16 Nov 2015Essay Writing Guides

academic procrastination - for students

Most of people at least once in their lives, have faced the situation when they do not want to start doing something important. Some people postpone it for later, others try to do less important things before they start the “big one” and some just avoid it with all possible means. This psycological phenomena is called “procrastination”.

What is the procrastination?

Procrastination (in psychology) is a tendency of avoiding or postponing a task, which has to be accomplished. A person stays proactive, but his or her activity is focused on odd, less important or sometimes even pointless jobs rather than on resolving the major task. A hard studying the night before the exam, delaying of important calls, decisions and trips till the “last minute deadline” are all the forms of the procrastination.

The  phenomenon of procrastination is a relatively new subject of psycological studies. Its first analyzis has first appeared in 1971 in the P. T.Ringenback’s  work “Procrastination through the ages: A definitive history”, although the scientific discussions on the procrastination issues had started in late 1960s.

According to the studies, we can name 5 types of procrastination:

  1. Procrastination as a lifestyle - this type of procrastinators are characterized as those with weak skills of doing everyday routines and duties during the  lifetime because of the inability to manage time;
  2. Procrastination in decisions - the inability to make a decision in a certain period of time;
  3. Neurotic procrastination - problems with making vital decisions timely;
  4. Compulsive procrastination - a chronic delays in daily behaviors;
  5. Academic procrastination (so-called “student syndrome”) - difficulties in accomplishing the tasks on time during training and/or studying.

With the study of causal relations of the given phenomenon was made a conclusion that personal features and task characteristics are key factors of the procrastination. Further  we will talk about the most popular type of procrastination among youth and students.

students procrastination

Academic procrastination implies a delay in accomplishing of study tasks (for example, essay writing or making presentations) and is connected with immaturity of learning skills, lack of self-organization and behavioral rigidity. As a result, we can observe a decrease of productivity in the learning process of a student. According to the research of Laura J Solomon and Esther D. Rothblum at University of Vermont, the prevalence of procrastination for the last 15 years is 20% of the adult population, while the postponing academic assignments is inherent in 70% to 95% of students. Also, the same research states that 46% of students nearly always or always procrastinate on the essay writing, 27% procrastinate on studying for exams and about 30% are reluctant to weekly reading assignments.

Symptoms of academic procrastination

Although that the procrastination is not a disease in a literal sense, but it can trigger other health problems. A student, who postpones important assignments for later suffers from anxiety and stress due to lack of time. Limitation in time might cause physical and psychological restrain, which results in eating and sleep disorders. In addition, procrastination has its own symptoms, however, it could be not easy to detect them. Gradually, the procrastinator becomes disorganized, loses control over time and the desire to do things timely, hardly gets used to the schedule of studying process, thus tends to do anything other but not the necessary action (for example, the widespread way of avoiding writing academic essays is cleaning the room or doing other useful but less important assignments).
Subsequently, the situation may develop in two directions. First - the procrastinator stops doing anything at all, which results in depression and health issues as well; second - he or she does the intense spurt before the deadline, which eventually leads to nervous exhaustion and worsening of procrastination. 

Both ways lead to problems with health and decreasing of productivity in social and study activities.

So how to overcome the procrastination and which therapy to choose?

The process of overcoming the procrastination is very individual and, unfortunately, there is no universal pill to cure it. However, psychologists name three main blocks in this process:

  1. a comprehensive analysis of the manifestations, origins and consequences of the procrastination and identifying of the background causing the desire to postpone doing the task; at this block the student could get help from a teacher and/or campus psychologist in form of personal conversation.
  2. work with the procrastinator over his or her perceptions of his/her abilities, confidence and ambitions; here the teacher’s task is to help student get motivation and outline main purposes of studying.
  3. the formation of procrastinators time-management skills, goal-setting and ability to evaluate time/efforts needed to accomplish the task. 

In simple words, the first and the basic task in overcoming the procrastination is to get the deep understanding of its reason and ways of  it’s expression. Pretty often it happens that the reason of the postponing the important task is not the procrastination, but the lack of time or simply underprioritizing of it. 

Read also: I can't write my essay, what should I do?

In modern world the procrastination, to some extend, is a result of continued emotional outbursts that influence our health. Therefore, we must understand the seriousness of the possible consequences of this condition and pay utmost attention to our habits and activities in order to detect the symptoms of procrastination on the earliest stages and prevent self-destruction of the individuality.

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