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Procrastination on campus increases as finals approach

Justin Tardiff | Monday, December 6, 2004

As the semester draws to a close and Notre Dame students begin to fret over finals, most students will spend the majority of their time doing a whole lot of nothing.

With the dark cloud of finals descending over campus, now is the time for students to prepare for rigorous tests, to labor over 12-page papers, to attend study sessions or, most likely, to procrastinate.

Procrastinating – putting off until tomorrow what can be done today – has become an art that many dabble in and some master. The daily grind of classes and working obligations leaves many with the desire to kick back, relax and wait until tomorrow. But do Notre Dame students procrastinate?

“Absolutely,” junior Michael Beverley said. “In fact, I’m procrastinating right now.”

The vitality and social atmosphere of campus, evident in the lounges of LaFortune, Reckers and even dorm rooms, can also serve as a major distraction to getting work done.

When asked which places on campus seem to attract procrastinators, sophomore Megan Sweeney said, “Besides your own room, a lot of people go to LaFortune just to look like they’re working.”

Freshman Kevin Conroy agreed that dorm rooms are a plague on study habits.

“I find my room to be the least productive place to get work done,” Conroy said.

Senior Kelly Marquez said that her biggest distraction was “friends stopping by.” Other in-dorm distractions that students mentioned included instant messaging friends, watching movies or, as Sweeney put it, “sitting around doing nothing with a roommate.”

“My favorite place to procrastinate is my bed because it’s warm and soft and it never judges,” Beverley said.

Ultimately, however, deadlines approach and students are faced with the unkind reality that there is schoolwork to do. Some thrive on the pressure, while others stress.

“It’s not stressful. I kind of plan on it when it gets down to the wire,” Sweeney said.

To Marquez, however, the encroachment of deadlines caused a little more anxiety.

“It’s always a surprise to me,” she said.

But why exactly do students procrastinate? According to Andrew Weis of the University Counseling Center, “Sometimes students set impossibly high standards. Often academic tasks require many steps, so they get frustrated easily and put off starting those tasks until the last minute.”

Also, Weis said procrastination can be detrimental to students for two main reasons.

“First of all, there are the obvious academic consequences,” he said. “And secondly, it doesn’t set a good precedent for work in the future because procrastination is tolerated less in some disciplines.”

As a solution to procrastination, Weis offered several suggestions.

“First of all, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself,” Weis said. “Look at what can be done, what can be done well, and concentrate on that. Also, break things down so they don’t feel so overwhelming, one step at a time.”

For students looking to manage their time more effectively, the University Counseling Center has walk-in counselors available to give advice and help students organize their schedules. However, to more thoroughly assess their individual situations, Weis encouraged students to schedule a first-time appointment to discuss organizational strategies and planning.

Whether they thrive on it or not, most students agree procrastination holds a dear place in their hearts.