Examples of procrastination in school and college

Procrastination is perhaps the number one problem that affects students’ academic performance in the USA and everywhere else. It’s incredibly common among learners and writers. While it’s not a big deal to put off an important task from time to time, there’s always a risk of growing into a die-hard procrastinator. In turn, the habit of procrastinating is the worst thing that can happen to a student’s GPA. So if you’re wondering whether or not you’re a procrastinator, check these examples of academic procrastination. See if you recognize yourself in them.

Starting an important essay hours before the deadline

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you don’t have enough time to proofread your essay because it’s three minutes before the deadline and you’ve yet to write a conclusion? Are you a fan of StudyTubers who do videos akin to “writing two 1000-word essays from scratch in three hours”? Have you asked your professor for an extension with no valid (and real) reason at least once? If your answer is yes to any of these, you’re probably a seasoned procrastinator.

One of the most common examples of procrastination among high school and college students is putting off an academic assignment for so long that it becomes impossible to write it well in the time left. Some master procrastinators can’t even order papers from essay writers on services like CustomWritings until it’s too late. The thing is, even an exceptional expert isn’t capable of miracles. Whether you intend to write your paper yourself or get professional help, it’s always better to get to it sooner rather than later. And custom assignments ordered in advance are quite cheap compared to last-minute ones.

But you’ve probably learned this the hard way already. Most students have. Failing to begin writing an important essay, research paper, or any other written assignment on time is the most common type of academic procrastination. There’re a variety of reasons why it affects so many students, such as anxiety, fear of failure, perfectionism, lack of motivation, and more. Also, sensation seeking is a big thing. Some students procrastinate because they’re unconscious adrenaline junkies.

Putting off studying until the night before a test

Another typical example of academic procrastination is the inability to get oneself to study for a test until the last minute. Once again, perfectionism, task aversion, and anxiety are among the main reasons why this happens. Some students claim that they actually get more productive the closer they get to the deadline. But the sad truth is that this doesn’t matter. No matter how well you work under pressure, research consistently shows that procrastinating isn’t a good thing for your grades.

Interestingly, data suggest that students tend to procrastinate in some subjects more than others, especially before tests. In particular, arts and humanities are found more procrastination-friendly compared to medicine and natural sciences. There are several reasons for this:

  • Medicine and natural sciences courses are more structured.

The lack of structure is known to contribute to academic procrastination. So when finals are around the corner, students are less likely to put off studying for courses with well-organized material (like biology or anatomy). In turn, arts and humanities courses (like English or photography), which are indeed somewhat all over the place, welcome procrastination.

  • Arts and humanities courses allow more freedom.

As sad as it may sound, feeling free increases the likelihood of procrastination. A lot of students think that arts and humanities tests are easy to pass with little to no preparation. They believe that just saying something remotely original in their answers will do. That’s rarely the case, though. The truth is, if you didn’t study for the test long enough, the professor grading it probably won’t buy the reasoning and will see through all the fancy words.

  • The knowledge gained in medicine and natural sciences courses is more tangible.

It’s also way easier to understand when you’re ready or not ready for the test if the knowledge is “concrete.” Most students can memorize that there are 206 bones in the skeleton but struggle with learning the features of Impressionism. In turn, when it’s impossible to feel whether you’re prepared for the test, the temptation to procrastinate grows tenfold.

A nice tip: Awesome flashcards for arts and humanities are available online (but check other students’ reviews first). They can help you find some structure in the course material and make the knowledge seem more tangible.

Not replying to the professor’s email for days

Now, this one isn’t exactly an example of academic procrastination, but it’s very common even among top students. The thing is, everyone is kind of used to ignoring emails. We do it with companies asking us to leave a review on their website, colleagues sending us New Year’s Eve party details, and so on. People put off responding to an email because of anxiety, laziness, or fear of saying something wrong.

But being a bad email writer (or broader, texter) is kind of rude. Professors or TAs often send personalized feedback to students and rightfully expect an answer. Sometimes, they even offer students an opportunity to improve their grades. They are actually trying to offer their assistance, so it’s not okay to just ignore their emails. Even if the reason why you’re not responding is the fear of not being able to write a quality response. After all, your professor is not a telecom company; they deserve at least a couple of minutes of your time. There’s nothing wrong with being a lousy customer from time to time, but not a lousy student.

The best way to avoid procrastinating on your emails for weeks is to respond to them immediately. Once you see a notification, open your professor’s email and start writing a response. If you struggle with this, Boomerang or a similar service might be a good idea. It won’t let you forget about an email in case you fail to respond to it immediately. The good news is responding to emails once you get them is a habit. So you can unlearn to procrastinate.