Procrastination is undeniably one of the biggest burdens we as college students bear. I remember the simpler days in high school, where assignments were broken up into fragments and when you were given work it was due the next day. This method of completion worked extremely well for me. Usually, my anxiety about school work will override my desire to procrastinate, yet somehow I have been found to fall into the trap of procrastination from time to time. Even some of my friends who I consider to be rigorous students have found themselves cramming for deadlines. I have always wondered, what exactly causes us to procrastinate? Is it simply laziness or is it something more? And how large of an impact does procrastination have on our academic lives?
The research done on procrastination seems to suffer from the infamous file drawer problem. Much of the studies done on the issue of procrastination are solely self-reported studies. There seems to be a lack of observational or experimental studies in the area concerning procrastination.
After doing some research however, I found a study done on procrastination from the University of Minnesota. The study focused on the four different categories of procrastination. The four different types consisted of : disorganized procrastinators, arousal procrastinators, fear of failure procrastinators, and avoidance procrastinators. The test group studied was chosen by a series of rigorous tests and surveys performed on a group of students that varied in race, gender, and even in age. The experimental group was comprised of one of each of these types of procrastinators.
The disorganized procrastinator was generalized to be a student that did work ignorant of the advice of teachers. They normally completes tasks carelessly and had strong emotional reactions when they faced adversity in the classroom. The arousal procrastinator was seen to be a student that felt that their best work was done when given a condensed amount of time. The pressure of looming and urgent deadlines pushed these students to complete their work. The fear of failure procrastinators avoided their work because of their immense anxiety in the classroom. These students felt that the pressure to succeed was too great to complete their work. They often procrastinate and pass in poor work because it gives them a concrete explanation as to why it is bad, they did not begin the work on time. Finally the avoidance procrastinators left work until the last minute simply because they valued other spheres of their life more. Whether it was their friends, family, job, etc. these students felt that other factors took precedence over their schoolwork.
The study was performed wanted to test how these different types of procrastinators behaved in a rigorous academic environment. The null hypothesis of this study would be that nothing in particular causes procrastination, it is simply a random occurrence. Through differing observational computer tests that recorded the student’s progress over a period of ten weeks, the results found proved that procrastination for the most part had an overwhelmingly negative effect on each of the student’s academics except for the arousal procrastinator. The fear of failure, avoidance, and disorganized procrastinators however all suffered from low scoring grades. The most interesting result of this study however would probably be that the test subjects all ranged in race, background, and even age. This presented the idea that we are all susceptible to procrastination no matter what our background is.
From the study, it is clear that procrastination should be avoided at all costs for students. It reduces anxiety and for the most part will help improve your grades. However, if you do decide to procrastinate, make sure to take the arousal route; get your work done, and get it done right, and within the looming deadline.