Procrastination – a fancy word to describe the condition of people who chronically postpone and put off things they know they should be doing – procrastinators in other words.
Procrastination is now a respectable subject for psychological study. Believe it or not, there is actually an international conference run on procrastination (I know what you’re thinking, but no, it ran on schedule). Apparently students are particularly prone to it because learning is often self-scheduled, performed alone and to exacting standards, all factors that enhance people’s tendency to put things off – especially when working on creative subjects. Most students (and tutors!) succumb occasionally.
Oddly it seems to affect more gifted students. Procrastinators are sometimes perfectionists, putting work off because conditions aren’t exactly right or assignments aren’t as good as possible. Sound familiar? And it can be difficult to overcome – in other words if you suffer then you’ve probably got it for life.
But there may be ways of managing it; realistic goal setting, planning, ‘making a molehill out of a mountain’ (breaking down a big task into a set of smaller ones), working out why you procrastinate (perfectionism, fear of failure, disappointing others and so on) and seeking help. Linking up with another student can help to keep you both on schedule.
We sometimes hear from students who seem to have procrastinated for too long and lose all impetus to continue. We’d like to hear from more so that we can help put them back on track and to this end, we’re presently putting in place a much closer monitoring/contact support scheme for students who are just starting out on a course(nearly 50% of dropout occurs during the first module) as well as some less frequent but ongoing contacts when we haven’t heard from someone for a while……………all this adds up to much more work for us, but also hopefully a better supported course experience for our students. Any ideas on how to pair up people with course buddies would be appreciated…………..bearing in mind the data protection limitations.