Procrastination hits as finals season approaches

By Kimberly Ngoh, Columnist

With the sun out, the Main Quad is beginning to gain color again. Flowers are blooming, hammocks are set up everywhere and frisbees are being thrown around. This second bout of picnic-perfect, carefree weather signifies the closing of the semester, which ironically also spells out stress, albeit not just in the academic sense.

The lifestyle of an average college student is no stranger to procrastination, often a result of how overwhelming it can get when it comes to juggling school, a social life, sleep and more. Having been preoccupied with school or life in general, you have probably racked up a bunch of unfulfilled “Let’s hang out sometime!” commitments. If not that, you have yet to try the BodyCombat class you said you’d try at the beginning of the semester.

Now, with a long summer ahead, it’s time to quickly squeeze in those events or finally try that class. At the same time, you want to spend as much time as you can with your friends, but you also want to go to the ARC to work on that summer body. Let’s not forget that term paper, group project and three finals coming up.

It would’ve been better to deal with the procrastination beforehand, to avoid a build-up like this.

We are now approaching the days in which there seems to be too much to do and too little time. And yet, it is not uncommon to find time for further delay.

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In the moment, it makes sense to take a break to clear your head before getting back into the zone instead of staring blankly at a question you’ve been trying to solve. However, that short break often extends beyond its purpose of resetting your brain, which is where the problem begins.

In some cases, procrastination can result from peer influence. When your friends are in the same boat, it’s easy to write it off as something that is normal, such as when you both joke about having a paper due tomorrow that you have yet to start. It is also comforting to enter a crowded Grainger Library on a Sunday night, as everyone performs damage control after putting off homework over the weekend.

Getting the job done may seem like sufficient compensation when it comes to pulling an all-nighter, but these can eventually lead to health drawbacks like insomnia or a weakened immune system. That being said, the last month of the semester can be handled more efficiently, allowing you to get in both studying and fun.

At this point, you can pretty much see the rest of your semester on a single calendar page. It shouldn’t be too difficult to plan for the remainder of the semester, ensuring you can do as much as possible with the time left.

Take the time to identify the type of procrastination you often fall prey to so you can find effective ways to combat it. Neil Fiore, the author of “The Now Habit,” defines procrastination as a “mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.” If you find yourself overestimating your time and energy expenditure, leaving you with stress and anxiety in trying to fulfill unrealistic expectations, it may be best to “unschedule.”

Fiore suggests putting in time for fun and relaxation along with time for sleep, eating or exercise, before planning your work schedule around it. This way, you don’t end up overlooking time to just breathe. He believes setting time aside for these commitments helps you set realistic goals for work and what you can accomplish.

These may sound like familiar steps that you have attempted to no avail. If so, continue to look for something that works for you. One small step may only help a little this time around, but it could build up into a more sustainable routine for the rest of your life.

Kimberly is a junior in Engineering.

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