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Procrastination and its effects on university undergraduate students

By Mubarak Abayomi 

Many interesting articles have been written on procrastination. However, this article tends to enlighten students on how procrastination could be a weapon of destruction. Procrastination is the negative act of delaying something or a task that must be done, mostly because one thinks there is enough time left. A person that involves in this act is called a procrastinator. The origin of procrastination comes from the Latin words: "pro"- meaning "forward", and "cratinus"- which means "of tomorrow." The word means acting slowly so as to fall behind. The informal term for procrastination is "shilly-shally." This act grows especially in the minds of those who are reluctant and lazy to undertake an obligatory task. A 2007 meta analysis research published in the psychological bulletin discovered that 80% to 95% of students procrastinate, especially when it comes to school activities (assignment, reading, e.t.c) As a student, you could imagine how other students rush to do their assignments obliviously on the date of submission. Procrastination, therefore, is a deadly disease that one should be careful of contracting.

Moving on, the purpose of this article is to discuss the effects of procrastination on university students. However, giving a highlight on why students procrastinate would make this article more engaging and alluring. One reason why students procrastinate is due to indecisiveness on how to complete a task,(assignment) and on whether the idea developed towards the assignment is good enough. Also, one of the reasons students procrastinate is laziness. Laziness is more or less similar to procrastination. However, the two terms are vastly different from each other. Laziness entails not being willing to put in the work and energy needed to do something, while procrastination is about feeling unable to put in the work, despite the need to do it. One of the ways a student can get rid of procrastination is that, one must be dedicated to whatever he/she is doing, and there must be no room for doubt.

Researchers discovered that students who procrastinate tend to hit a "low stress level" at the beginning of the semester, but there is a rapid increase in stress as time goes on.  Like the Yoruba adage goes: " Do not lavish your precious morning time doing something worthless, so you would not sacrifice your night rest in doing something worthwhile." With this, the effect of procrastination would lead to low self-esteem, ruining a career/ future, low/poor grades, which would be discussed in subsequent paragraphs. 

A negative effect that procrastination has on undergraduate students is that, it reduces their self-esteem, and this could be referred to as low self-esteem. Low self-esteem occurs when someone lacks confidence about who they are and what they can do. What is more, indulging in acts of procrastination would be a hit on one's confidence. With the effect of procrastination, a student would not be able to undertake a task and produce outstanding results. For instance, procrastinating on a given assignment due to the reason that there may be enough time left would make one do the assignment hurriedly without making a genuine research on the questions given, especially when the deadline to turn in that assignment is within reach. Also, procrastination, which then leads to low self-esteem can hinder the confidence of the student in the area of not being able to speak confidently in a public gathering as a result of the individual not having genuine or relevant ideas in order to prove a point. Therefore, for a student to improve his/ her self-esteem, he/she must avoid procrastination.

Be that as it may, another negative effect that procrastination has on students is that, it could ruin the career or future of that student. Every student has an objective for being in school; it is not just to gain the Western Education, but it would also bring them nearer to achieving their purpose in life. As a reliable public speaker, Dr. Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose always says "Everyone has a purpose in life; you just have to find it, and take some steps towards achieving it. Therefore, indulging in the act of procrastination would make one lose complete focus in school activities, and also not putting consideration into the matters of his/her future, and this would further lead to the loss of that individual's career/future. For instance, procrastination would make it difficult for one to meet deadlines, while also being unable to meet weekly or monthly targets.

Last but not least, procrastination results in low/poor academic performance. Having low grades is one of the negative effects of procrastination on students, as procrastination can affect a student in these ways. The first way is that, the time of study for that student would be delayed, as well as his/her time for other school activities (lectures). It is important to note, that a student who delays his/her time of study would not find a conducive time to know about the course(s). The saying goes thus :"The more you make research on something, the more you know about it." Therefore, if a student delays his/her time of study on a course until the day of examination, he/she would not be able to cover up all that had been taught on the course, which would make him/her know less about that course and all it entails. This would lead to poor grades, because one can not be assured of getting a good grade as regards an examination when one has not fully prepared for that examination. On the other hand, not doing assignments at the regular time can also lead to poor grades. The curriculum system of the university in accumulating students' grade is 70/30. Seventy percent (70%) for examinations, while thirty percent (30%) goes for continuous assessment, assignment, e.t.c which would be recorded as part of what boosts students' grades. Therefore, doing an assignment late would not allow one conduct a thorough research on the question given, and that would result to the student having a poor mark.

Conclusively, getting rid of procrastination is an arduous task. However, if one is dedicated and hardworking towards a certain goal, definitely, nothing less than an achievable result should be expected. It is important to know that failure occurs, but it is not constant. One must learn from his/her mistakes in order to get to the next level. A motivational speaker once said, "failing does not mean giving up, instead, it means picking yourself up, brushing yourself up, and moving forward." Therefore, in getting rid of procrastination, one has to erase negative thoughts and establish positive thinking. Rounding off with an informal saying, I say, "Na who give up, fuck up."