Quite a few of us students and ex-students have been here before -- carelessly leaving assignments to be completed until the night before the due date; often not bothering to do the work at all. "I'll do it later", "I've got better things to do right now", "I don't feel up to it". It causes a lot of last minute panic and stress. Parents and teachers often view such behaviour as laziness. To a certain degree, they might be right. But more often than not, procrastination of this sort is a result of a subconscious fear of failure.

Many young students feel there is pressure on them to succeed, whether it is applied by themselves, teachers or family. Putting things off to the last minute is a way to protect their self-esteem. If their results turn out well, they can commend their selves on how well they achieved in such a short amount of time. If their mark is quite poor, they can place the blame on their lack of time to complete the task.

Generally, students who rush themselves into completing assignments are less likely to complete it to a satisfactory standard. This can get dangerous as it leaves the procrastinator with lower self-esteem. They'll keep repeating their behaviour as a way of dealing with it, locked into a bad habit, usually without realising what is going on.

There are other causes for procrastination among young people, but this does seem to be one of the major reasons. Another cause is that students try to cope with part-time jobs, social lives and recreational activities on top of their school work but simply lack the time management skills to get the most out of their day.

References cited:
Cook, Margaret. 2002. "Fear of failure hampers students" The Age.16th October.

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