verb (used without object), pro·cras·ti·nat·ed, pro·cras·ti·nat·ing.
to defer action; delay:to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.
verb (used with object),pro·cras·ti·nat·ed, pro·cras·ti·nat·ing.
to put off till another day or time; defer; delay. (Dictionary.com.)
I admit, I tend to procrastinate.
College cured me of this a little bit, I had to meet deadlines, so I learned to plan a little better. I don’t procrastinate as much as I did, but I still do, especially if it’s not urgent.
Normally I can get away with this, unless it ends up being harder than I anticipated, and honestly, it almost always does, doesn’t it?
You don’t put it off, and it ends up being simple, you put it off and it has three extra steps you didn’t realize before.
Explanation? Cruel irony.
So, true story, this last Monday I was doing some French Homework I didn’t want to do, I had opted out of it on Saturday to do something else I wanted to do more, and of course, when you dread it it feels worse. But the I realize I had to do more than I thought.
It was due the next day, so I couldn’t just say, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and I couldn’t finish it before class because I have to leave super early in order to park at my crowded campus. (Joys of not living at one’s college, but I would never change it, I’ve heard stories, man.) With this in mind, I obviously shouldn’t have put it aside again, but I really wanted to. At one point, I almost decided to just shove it away for a few hours, but knowing how I am, I knew I’d likely forget until 9 or 10 pm when I should be winding down, not gearing up.
And all the late-nighters looked sheepishly at their phones…
Now, the non-procrastinators are wondering, did she do it?
And this is the part where most people admit wryly that they did.
But not this chick, nope, I finished it; and then I checked what I’d already done though I hadn’t been going to do that. (My teacher requires it, but I hadn’t found the answer key till then so I wasn’t going to worry about it.)
This story may seem entirely pointless, unless you’re really that interested in my study habits, but I can draw something profound out of this, I promise.
Something I noticed that I never noticed before while I was studying, is that I was actually worried I’d do a bad job. I thought I wasn’t understanding it well, I wasn’t sure I was following the directions right, some things my teacher had not even covered in class and I had to skip; and I’m becoming stressed, and you know what I’m hearing in my head? “You aren’t good at this, you don’t get it, maybe you’re not as good at this class as you thought; maybe now that it’s past the basic stuff you already knew, you’re bad at it, you were just riding your previous success. You can’t really be that good at it…”
Let me clarify, I’m student who’s made like two B’s and the rest all A’s since she started college a year ago. I led two of my classes. I’ve found nothing to be too hard for me.
So, I have no reason to doubt my abilities in French, language is my favorite subject for crying out loud, but I was beginning to doubt, not because it was all that hard, but because feeling confused and uncertain hits my confidence hard.
I hate feeling confused. I guess it makes sense, my gifts are understanding-oriented, I excel when I get a concept really cemented in, and when Id on’t I usually do poorly or at least not as well as I could.
But I still almost started freaking out.
That was when it hit me, every time I procrastinate it’s because I am feeling kind of lost in the subject. I wonder if I m doing it well, so I out it off in order to not face my own failure.
And I realized, this is not just me. I listen to my classmates discuss procrastinating, and they all feel like they aren’t really good students and aren’t really smart. They feel confused, and the ones who are less determined to get a good grade don’t do anything about it.
People who don’t feel they are good at what they are doing settle for what they “could get done.” You’ve heard the type yourself, I’m sure. They act like it was their best, but it wasn’t. They don’t do extra-credit except out of desperation.
Yeah, and in Speech class, I did that. I still got a good grade because I did all the extra credit I could, but I was so done with it when I got out. I’m not bad at speech, but those classes are ridiculous, format is not that important. I guarantee you the famous speeches of the world did not fit that format perfectly…gosh…
Anyway, that being said, this attitude can be applied toe very class, not just one or two you particularly hated, and then you just become a procrastinator and mediocre.
Fear drives us. We are afraid to fail, so we are afraid to try. If we don’t, we can’t fail. Or we can fail and shrug it off “I probably should’ve done more, but I didn’t.” Translation: If I had, I’d be better at it, I’m not dumb, just lazy.”
Yeah, you know, lazy is not better than dumb. It’s worse. Dumb people might work harder to improve and surpass those it came too easily too.
People ride their competence, they can get by with procrastinating because they are smart, so they do. And yes, guilty.
But I’m starting to see why I’m doing myself a disservice. Maybe my teaches won’t care (though they should) but I will. I’m giving two-three years of my life to college, why the heck would I not make the most of that. I could’ve spent that time trying to work, doing stuff for fun, or whatever; instead I’m learning skills I plan to use later, why would I want to not learn them well?
And they wonder why people in the workplace just don’t seem to care. It’s because they never did. They are afraid to really try there too, and afraid to care about it.
To cap this off, when I did check my work like I’m supposed to, I found out I did very well. Only one consistent mistake, and one I can fix easily.
It’s like the perfect metaphor, I did the work, and I did it well. Had I not finished, I would not have found the answers key, and that would have left the work incomplete, thereby hurting my grade.
See how that works? Finishing let me finish.
God’s been calling me out on how I just accept that I can’t do better, and then I don’t try. I think I’m allowed to be mediocre. But that’s not what He calls us to.
I’ve never had to be the smartest person in order to feel confident, but that does not mean I should not be trying my hardest.
Anyway, I hope you found this enlightening or at least interesting, until next time–Natasha.
Check out this awesome song about giving it your all: