I Procrastinate | Teen Ink

I Procrastinate

April 2, 2019
By ab_lee BRONZE, Cedar Hills, Utah
ab_lee BRONZE, Cedar Hills, Utah
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I procrastinate.

If procrastination was a form of art I would be Michelangelo, masterfully drawing out elaborate plans to accomplish hours long assignments in twenty minutes. Instead of a chapel ceiling of masterpieces, I boast a portfolio of barely-on-time assignments adorned with my messy handwriting and tear stains. In place of divine sculptures lining the halls of Europe’s museums, I have rows of boxes filled with half done assignments and study guides, a testament to the incessant procrastination reaching far back into my academic career.

If this habit was an illness I would be diagnosed with a case of chronic and debilitating procrastination -- chronic because of the years which it has affected me, and debilitating because time and time again this postponement of major tasks has caused serious anxiety to both me and to whoever is unlucky enough to be anywhere near me while I attempt to finish fifty calculus problems in the space of thirty minutes.  I employ many methods to procrastinate. I have practiced piano for three hours, cleaned my entire bedroom, devised the optimal way to throw a crumpled up piece of paper into a trash can from a distance of 20 feet, and read a couple hundred pages of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina just to avoid doing my chemistry problem sets. For any prescribed attempt to remedy this illness I would be labeled non-compliant. Following advice from my parents, friends, and Buzzfeed, I have tried time and time again to find a cure for this predicament from delegating every daily task into a strict daily schedule to tying myself to my desk chair until my calculus homework is done (I’m kidding … partly). Nothing has worked, bringing me to think that I may just be a chronic procrastinator for the rest of my life. Both my dreams of becoming a doctor and of sleeping soundly through the night have been shattered. My unrelenting tendency to procrastinate has taken over any thought of a less stressful academic future.

For years I have tried to discover the motive for this debilitating habit. Am I an adrenaline junkie pushing back completion of high stress activities (a.k.a. reading the 100 pages of my history textbook I put off for two weeks the night before the test) to the last second to feel the rush? Are my time management skills nonexistent? I have discovered that the answers are partly yes. The satisfaction I feel after a sleepless night that miraculously results in a finished assignment just minutes before class, and the stack of empty planners gathering dust on my shelves speak for themselves.

Perhaps it is not my utter lack of time management skills or my complete laziness that is to blame. Maybe it is the structure of our education system, shoving arbitrary information down the throats of its students only to have the students cough enough back to do well on a test while in reality retaining none of it. Through this system I have been falsely rewarded, learning over the years that in order to be successful I just need to memorize information and somehow regurgitate it a few hours later.

Or maybe this so called curse that has haunted me through my entire academic career is a blessing. Maybe somehow I subconsciously procrastinate to put the minimum effort in things that ultimately do not matter, knowing that my time and mental energy can be used much more efficiently on the tasks I am most passionate about. By spending the least possible time on calculus and chemistry problem sets, I have been able to do things like read Anna Karenina and learn Chopin’s first ballade. Procrastination has carried me through this far and maybe it will just barely drag me along the rest of my academic path while allowing me to pursue things I love. After all, Michelangelo was too busy painting the Sistine chapel to worry about intricacies of the chemical bonds in the paint he was using.

Yet, whatever the causes and effects of my chronic and debilitating procrastination are, here I am, 11:52 p.m. on a Monday night, still writing this essay, not yet having found a cure for this habit, but hoping that whatever miracle has carried me through high school so far will carry me through my inevitably procrastination filled school years to come.

I procrastinate.



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