What do SpongeBob Squarepants, Joey Tribbiani, my theatre teacher, high school students, and many parents have in common? No, it’s not that they all have Golgi bodies and retinas. Let me give you a hint.
They put off ‘till tomorrow what they should do today… get my drift? About right now, Joey is late for an audition, Spongebob is writing an essay due in five minutes, my theatre teacher is dilly-dallying on who to cast for the upcoming show, high school students are too tired to do anything and parents are putting off their morning meetings until the afternoon! And do you know what causes all this chaos? Just five syllables: PROCRASTINATION.
From the ‘I’ll do it later’ excuse to the ‘Aw man, I can’t believe I put this until the last minute!’ worrying, procrastination is ruining our lives! We have all procrastinated in our lifetime whether it may be delaying to take the dog out or finishing a major school project like writing a persuasive speech that includes antithesis, ethos, pathos, logos, similes, metaphors, anecdotes, and other things that I haven’t mentioned that are hopefully in this speech.
I know I did not procrastinate on this speech about procrastination because that would be just wrong. But what about you guys, the sleep-deprived high school students? Do you usually put off things until the last minute? This issue is becoming a bad habit and Ted Fishman, the writer in the USA Today, states that ‘Procrastination is now a topic right up there with race, class and the salaries of university presidents.’ It’s affecting high school students in negative ways such as sleep deprivation, laziness, and even depression.
Distractions are one of the leading causes of procrastination. Let’s say your dream job is to be an orthopaedic surgeon a.k.a. a doctor who breaks bones for a living. You’re in your senior year and you are struggling in Anatomy and Physiology class and the only chance to get a B average on your final report card is to ace the upcoming final exam and get an A on a ten-page anatomy essay. Your teacher assigned the work on the first day of the fourth quarter and now there are only two weeks until school ends.
You just realized this and you start to get going on the project. You open Microsoft Word, put your name and period on the top right-hand corner, change the date to the day the essay was assigned and think up a title for the essay. Suddenly, someone calls your cell phone. Your obnoxious ring tone blasts throughout the house and embarrassed, you quickly pick up. It’s your friend from AP Music Theory telling you to look up this hilarious music video online.
Now distracted from your intended goal, you search the music video. You find out that it’s only three PM and you have enough time to watch a couple of other videos. You glance at your incomplete essay, but you have a feeling you can finish it later. You watch a couple more hilarious videos and then glance at the clock again… SEVEN PM. You feel really tired from all the video watching and decide to have dinner. Pretty soon, you are drenched with homework and the essay is due tomorrow! The last-minute has arrived! You BS your essay so you can study for the AP Music Theory final exam. You realize that you can get away with procrastinating.
The final week of school comes around and you get called over by your teacher about your essay. Uh-oh. You received a *dun-dun-dun* D+. The scholarship you applied to denied your acceptance because you had to maintain a B average. All this happened because you procrastinated. On a larger scale, procrastination can lead to total failure in your dream career.
According to Ted Fishman, writer in the USA Today, seventy percent of students report they start their assignments late. Students with cheat sheets or plagiarized papers tend to be those who didn’t put in the proper time with their assignment. According to The Chronicle, research shows that ‘academic procrastinators tend to lack self-confidence, measure low on psychologist tests of ‘conscientiousness,’ [and] get lost in wishful thoughts.’ Once you get away with it, you think you can procrastinate for a lifetime.
You CAN get away with procrastination, but with a cost. Let’s go back to one time when I used to procrastinate… third quarter. In World History and Geography Honors class, there was a little current events assignment called the ‘Portfolio Project.’ I was supposed to retrieve a current events article each week about the Philippines and to write three paragraphs about each one. I was supposed to do that in a widespread range of five weeks… I had over a month! And guess what I did… mmmhmmmm. I PROCRASTINATED.
It was the worst experience that happened in all my third quarters at FCPS combined! First off, I didn’t even have all the articles to write about, so I spent about an hour looking for articles with the right dates. Then the summaries and other parts of the assignment took about five hours… five hours! Even with no distractions, I finished around 1:30 in the morning and I was so sleep-deprived. There was my punishment. Sleep deprivation. Psychologist Piers Steel, PhD, at the University of Calgary found that ninety-five per cent of us report having postponement problems. We put off jobs we find tedious, as well as things that inspire fear of failure, of not living up to our own expectations, of never finishing insecurities that threaten our very identities.
Going back to the distraction scenario that I created earlier, all that started with a simple phone call. If you need to get something done, whether it may be early or really early, turn off anything that might distract you from doing your assignment… including the internet. The next time you do this, you will see this helps so much and you will finish with double the time to spare for your other homework. When you get home from school, do the task that you know you have trouble with first, rather than last when you tend to procrastinate and tell yourself ‘I can’t do it!’ and not even attempt to at least try. If you have an essay or a speech due, you can spread the workout.
You can always think of boring, time-consuming projects as a series of beginnings, and to remember that no failure is final. At the University of Missouri, the students and professors are setting up intervention workshops for chronic procrastinators. If we had something like that here at West Springfield, I know we could cut down on the procrastinators and about one hundred per cent of us roaming around the school won’t be sleep deprived.
So in a nutshell, procrastination is like a tropical storm. It overtakes you, and drowns you into its depths until there is nothing left of you! I know, dramatic much? Once you procrastinate and get away with it, it’s really hard to go back to your old ways. When you don’t procrastinate, it’s amazing how less sleep-deprived and more cheerful you are.
Not only will you be happy about your accomplished work, but also you will be happy about yourself, as a whole. So the next time you’re assigned a large task, do a favour not only to me but also for yourself. Don’t be like SpongeBob, Joey Tribbiani or my theatre teacher. Don’t procrastinate, ever again, for the sake of all that is right in the world! Or, all that is right in your eyes, or your retinas! Never mind. Just, don’t procrastinate…
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