Procrastination can be a vice or a virtue. Students may regret those last minute essays, but memories are not made from just studying.
“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.”―Bill Watterson
Some people love gambling. Whether it’s the coin slots, blackjack, prize fights, or racing ponies, people love to lay it all on the line, let it ride, roll some dice, and hope for the best. The risks are high, but the rewards can be much higher. I am no exception. My game of choice is free to play, open to anyone, and is all about what you haven’t done as opposed to what you have.
I love to procrastinate. Or at least have some fond feeling towards endangering my GPA on a nightly basis. There is no really good excuse for it. When I have tons of work to do, instead of jumping head on into it to try and get it done as fast as possible, I tend to commiserate and push it off until the last possible moment. The unfortunate downside of this is the more I procrastinate, the more work piles up, and leads to a vicious cycle of procrastination, stress, depression, and more procrastination. It is a problem.
Most procrastinators, like I, will argue that we work better under pressure, and to some extent this is true. Sometimes a rush of adrenaline is just the kick you need to hurriedly try and complete a 10-page paper. While I would prefer for that “rush of adrenaline” to kick in sooner than, say, three hours before the assignment is due, that’s just not how it works. Yet, I will concede to the point that life may be a whole lot easier and the final product would be of a greater caliber if more time was spent in advance. At the end of the day, though, it’s much easier said than done.
For the most part, procrastination comes from a sincere place and it’s by no means malicious. In a world where we are instructed to keep moving, never stop, and don’t slow down, it’s easy to start burning out. By this time of the year, I am all but running on fumes, fighting with my body to keep paying attention in class, my biological urge to sleep through the alarms I set on my phone, and the continual want to just tune out, turn off, and drop out. No matter how hard I try, sometimes my body gets the best of me. There are only so many all-nighters you can pull before your body will force you to fall asleep, no matter what you do to stay up.
While the occasional bout of “I completely forgot this was due” or “I just didn’t have the time to finish this” is understandable, once you make it a habit, people are less likely to be understanding. I can’t blame them for getting angry, but what can I say, it’s almost as if I am addicted to procrastinating. Not only is there the rush, but also a sense of accomplishment that is felt where you can tell all that you were able to get something done (and done well) in the matter of a few measly hours the day of. It makes you feel invincible. Of course, it only takes one screw up, one missed deadline, or one midterm you overslept through to have those feelings of superiority crash all around you and make you feel like a child who couldn’t even get his homework done in time. That great sense of self can turn into an even greater bout of shame in an instant.
Though procrastination is not a virtue to strive for, there are instances where it is acceptable. At the end of the day, sometimes it’s worth pushing something off to the last minute if it means making memories with the one’s you love. Yes, you may be stressed out and regretting going out drinking with your friends when you should have been studying for you test, but at the end of the day, what will you remember more: what you got on your Logic midterm or that time you and your best friends stole a golf cart and drove it into Lake Virginia? Ben Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” While that is all fine and good, I believe Ellen DeGeneres’ rebuttal elaborates on my point most eloquently: “Procrastination is not the problem. It is the solution. It is the universe’s way of saying stop, slow down, you move too fast…What I’m trying to say is, if you leave tonight and you don’t remember anything else that I’ve said, leave here and remember this: Procrastinate now, don’t put it off. “