Late night study sessions and frantic paper-writing sessions are activities very familiar to some students, specializing in the art of procrastination.
“I am a horrible procrastinator,” RC junior William Trenary said. “I always put off work that is uninteresting and mechanical until the last moment. On the other hand, I can’t keep myself from doing things that I find interesting.”
A study on procrastination conducted by Bruce Tuckman, professor of education at Ohio State University, found that extreme procrastinators have lower grades than students who slightly procrastinated.
The study found that on a 4.0 scale, slight and moderate procrastinators averaged grades of 3.6 and 3.4, respectively, while extreme procrastinators averaged 2.9.
The study also concluded that the worst procrastinators tried to justify their actions.
“The results show that procrastinators don’t work better under pressure, but it may be the only way they work. They don’t have any idea how well they might do if they didn’t procrastinate,” Tuckman said in a written statement.
The study involved a 10-week study skills course with 116 students. The class was packed with deadlines for more than 200 assignments, all of which were submitted through computers to ensure that late assignments were not accepted. The study’s conclusions were presented at the American Psychological Association meeting in Chicago on Aug. 22.
“Whether I procrastinate depends on how I feel,” Nursing sophomore Jim Shannon said. “If something has to get done, I do it. I am in control, but if there are better things to do, I will put assignments off. I prioritize and try to study for tests in advance and save assignments for later. I work on assignments until I think they are good, but I think they would end up better if I did them in advance rather than right before they’re due.”
In an effort to help their students stay on task, professors and graduate student instructors provide syllabi with dates of tests and assignments.
“I give students clear deadlines on a syllabus and try to check in with them to make sure they don’t have unanswered questions that prevent them from doing their assignments,” GSI Janice Templeton said. “I encourage students to monitor themselves. They should have a plan, and break it into smaller steps and goals. If they find the plan doesn’t work, they should evaluate it and create a new one. Also, in order to discourage procrastination, I don’t accept late assignments.”
Trenary said, “Sometimes, I tell myself that I am in control or that I work better under pressure but I know it isn’t true. I have started to change my habit by arranging study dates.”