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Precrastination: the opposite of procrastination

Typical habits of procrastination haunt the minds of some high school students. Whether it be an all-nighter permeated with intense stress or an important task put off a week too late, procrastination is an issue that affects a fairly large percentage of students in the classroom. To put it into perspective, a 2014 study by StudyMode found that 87 percent of its surveyed students admitted to procrastinating, highlighting an obvious issue for many.

While such problems with time management are apparent in many students, problems can also occasionally arise when one does the polar opposite of procrastinating. Many refer to this act as “precrastinating” or attempting to finish assignments as quickly as possible. There can be a multitude of reasons for this kind of motivation, including a desire to get a tedious workload over with or an attempt to avoid the typical nightmares associated with procrastinating.

AP Biology teacher Kerri Graham has a mix of both types of students in her classes. She doesn’t believe it is necessarily effective for students to precrastinate or procrastinate; rather, she simply encourages her students to use their time wisely whenever appropriate and applicable.

“If [my students] have time to study, begin research or outline projects/papers, I encourage them to use it,” Graham said. “Oftentimes, spacing out the process can be helpful.

Sophomore Laura Scoville is one example of a student who precrastinates to a certain degree. At one point in her academic life, she found it easier to put off her schoolwork, as she knew the consequences of doing so weren’t as significant. As her classes increased in difficulty and workload, however, she realized she had no choice but to begin managing her time more effectively.   

“I get my work done earlier due to the fear that I’m doing it wrong, so I’ll have some time to fix it if it’s done incorrectly,” Scoville said. “I used to procrastinate a lot since I thought the content was fairly easy and manageable. Now, however, I worry about my classes more, so I tend to finish my work earlier.”

Many students might view Scoville’s practice of finishing work early as a phenomenal habit. After all, punctuality is a characteristic generally associated with academic excellence. At the same time, however, Scoville’s routine does have some disadvantages, such as creating unnecessary tension and a lack of confidence in her work.

“The main drawbacks are that since I have [my schoolwork] done early, I get a lot more anxiety and stress that comes from the feeling that my work isn’t good enough,” Scoville said.

On the other side of the spectrum is junior Billie Huang. A student who struggles with the effects of procrastination, Huang can be considered the academic opposite of Scoville. While she does agree that finishing work early is much better than procrastinating, she still doesn’t think doing so makes a significant difference, as long as she makes sure she finishes her own work on time.  

“When I see people turn their work in early, I think ‘Good for them, they must manage their time wisely,’ but I don’t really care about how they get their work done. Everyone works differently, and some people do so faster than others, but all that matters is there’s something in the teacher’s hands on the due date,” Huang said. Though it must be nice to get it off your to-do list, there aren’t extra points for turning something in early when you have like five or six other classes you have to complete work for as well.”

Overall, Scoville believes the benefits of finishing her work early outweigh the small costs associated with doing so, and she remains content with her habit of punctuality as a result.
“Generally, I’m pretty happy with the whole precrastination thing since I don’t feel as overwhelmed all the time,” Scoville said. “It’s nice to get my work done early since I get more time to do things that I actually like to do and it gives me time to work through any problems.”

Are you a procrastinator? How does it affect you? Comment below and let us know. 

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