Why Procrastination CAN Be the Key to Success

Haasi Korlipara, Op-Ed Editor

“Do NOT wait until the very end of summer to start the English or History assignments!” This small piece of advice was all I kept hearing from several juniors  when I was a sophomore. Yet, my brain seemed to lack enough storage for this 16-word imperative sentence. I found myself peacefully walking on the West Meadow beach trail alongside my mom, dad, and sister in the 3rd week of August when the thought finally hit me: “I should probably start my summer homework.” During those two weeks before school, I spent my mornings working in an office and my nights alternating between taking notes on four chapters of A.P.U.S.H., completing two different books for A.P. Language and Composition, and looking over suggested readings for BC Calculus.

Whether it’s because we simply aren’t interested enough to work on it immediately, are caught up in other preoccupations, or work better under pressure, I’m sure all of us have procrastinated on a school assignment at one point in our lives. However, the negative connotation associated with the word “procrastination” has prevented many people from realizing a seemingly unpopular concept: that procrastination, when done right, can indeed have its advantages.

While there is little argument to support passive procrastination (putting things off because you have trouble making decisions or can’t get motivated), those who actively procrastinate (putting a task off because you have too much on your plate) often find it easier to remember important information from the assignment by completing it closer to the deadline. This can be seen in the case of junior Varun Jindal, who began the English assignment about two weeks before school started and the History assignment in the last week of August. He argues the point that it is preferable to procrastinate, as if you don’t, you won’t remember any of the information when school starts. “Some of my friends read the books for the English assignment very early in the summer and when they sat down to do the written portion, they couldn’t remember the books,” he explains.

However, the question remains: “How much procrastination is too much procrastination?” While two weeks may be quite a short time frame for completing two or three whole assignments to certain people, a matter of weeks can seem very much like a decade to those students who began the English rhetoric chart the day before school, finishing at approximately 3 a.m. on September 5. Eleventh grader Ryan agrees with Varun, stating that “Doing the reading in both History and English closer to the start of school helped me remember more of the details of the texts!” However, he admits that beginning the rhetoric chart the day before school started may not have been the smartest idea. Evidently, procrastinating to the point that you are losing sleep and can’t put your best effort into the task should be something to reconsider.

Although the concept seems quite foreign to me, there are indeed people who manage to start summer assignments much earlier. Junior Allison Nemsure began her three summer assignments the week after finals and finished most of everything into the beginning of July. She expresses an advantage of getting work done early, stating that “Right after finals last year my brain was still in school mode so it was much easier to concentrate.” Another junior, Ari Beasley, started her English assignment even before sophomore year was over and began the history assignment early in July. She found it very beneficial to start early, stating, “Because of my earlier starting dates I could work at my own pace instead of rushing through the assignments.”

As Allison has told me, “I guess how one tackles the summer assignments should fit the their lifestyle personality.” For some people, procrastination may be preferable, while others may find it to be a burden. But just for the record…Leonardo Da Vinci, who was responsible for some of the most famous works of art ever to have been created, was in fact a renowned procrastinator.