It's not all smooth sailing when you are young

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It’s not all smooth sailing when you are young

“It’s midnight? Already? Where did the time go? Ok, I’ll see you tomorrow. I have to go finish up my I.S.U. essay. Due date is coming up.”

She hangs up the phone and says to herself, “Or rather, it’s about time I started working on that. It’s due tomorrow. Long night ahead, let’s whip out the coffee. Mom, where’s the espresso machine?!”

We’ve all found ourselves in positions where we say to ourselves, “I’ll do it later.” Welcome to high school. Procrastination defines the very essence of the high school experience. Teenagers are more than willing to risk missing due dates and losing sleep at the cost of “having a social life too.” Or are they? Does procrastination mean not caring or caring too much?

You never heard what the girl on the other end of the phone call said. “Ok. Goodnight. We’ll finish figuring out this problem set tomorrow.”

It’s all smooth sailing in grade nine and ten. You think you have everything under control. You want to use the advantage of a new beginning to start off well. You do all your homework, get in your assignments on time, ask for extra help, and hey you even start assignments early when you have a bit of spare time on your hands. Then grade eleven comes crashing and soon you find yourself swamped, but it’s okay because everything gets done regardless. You realize it’s about time you really learned how to manage your time, and start cutting back on your social life in order to keep up. Grade twelve is when the boat begins to sink. You think you can handle four classes, being a part of all the clubs at school, having a job, and still manage to have time to spend with your friends. Forget that. You are only dooming yourself.

In the midst of volunteer work, prom dress shopping, playing sports, attending events, part-time jobs, spending time with the family and life you have to find time to do your homework. Making decisions about your future, deciding which university or college to go to, visiting campus’ and doing the extra research to make sure you are happy with the path you are choosing doesn’t take up any time at all. Time, why, when did time begin to be an issue? I have all the time in the world to spare. And then it’s midnight, the night before your English I.S.U. essay is due and you say to yourself, “Wow. How did I let it get that far? When did I become a procrastinator? I’m going to fail. There’s no way I’m going to get this done in time.”

But you see the key to this experience is growth. So yes, it’s your grade twelve year and you are at risk because a major assignment may or may not be completed in time. You pull that all-nighter once and let it be a reminder to never procrastinate again.

Everyone always tells us that we shouldn’t leave things to the last minute but some of us work better under pressure. The key is to know what kind of pressure you can handle. I’m not promoting leaving an assignment that is worth ten percent of your mark to the last minute, but what I am saying is that high school is an opportunity for us to learn about our own habits. You do it once, it works out, fine, maybe it’s a fluke. If you have been in the habit of leaving things knowing that you have just the right about of time to do them, even better. Sometimes motivation comes from pressure, knowing that in a certain amount of time something needs to be done. Sometimes knowing that your mark depends on this one paper that you clearly didn’t start early is enough to keep you going and push yourself to do the very best you can considering the circumstances. Just don’t plan this so that you end up losing sleep. Maybe sometimes it proves to you that you need time to work on things (although all of us can improve given time to work harder). Some people can procrastinate and sail right through until the end. Those are the people that know how to do it though. They know how to manage their time.

High school procrastination is a myth. We don’t do it because we don’t care. It happens because we care too much, take on too many responsibilities and sometimes we just don’t know how to say no. If we were to focus strictly on our school work, then yes, we would always start things early, but high school is about so much more than that. High school is a rounded experience of academic growth and personal, spiritual, emotional, and social growth. It’s about making the right decisions at the right times and knowing what you can handle. The boat doesn’t have to sink, but it does have to endure some rocky waves. Figure out which of those waves you can sail, and take it from there.





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