Sara Sayeed – Procrastinating for England

A brief saunter through Vanbrugh circa lunchtime would suggest that here, at the ever-scintillating hub of excitement that is York University, we are a diverse lot. You have the drama-kids emphatically gesticulating in one corner, random smatterings of media-hacks scribbling away in tattered notebooks in the throes of critical ‘meetings’, those lone-individuals tucked away in a corner by the bar, who read for pleasure and chew their hair – granted, not the most un-stereotyped bunch but different from each other nonetheless.

But if you really look past the miscellany there is so much that we all share. Primarily, we’re all sat in Vanbrugh, have been sat in Vanbrugh and probably will continue to sit in Vanbrugh for the majority of the afternoon. Despite our ranging interests, University students posses that common, binding skill of procrastination.

For some, it is an aptitude that takes time and commitment to polish; but somehow for students it seems something more of an innate talent. We do it without even thinking. So characteristic is procrastination of student-kind that the ever-informative and erudite Wikipedia has even dedicated a whole chunk of its article on the subject to what it ominously terms, “The Student Syndrome”. Unfortunately, in what perhaps was an attempt to comfort Wikipedia’s explanation of this “phenomenon” as a by-product of the “academic setting, where students are required to meet deadlines in an environment full of events and activities which compete for students’ time and attention”, instead caused some mental anguish by bringing in the whole nature vs. nurture debate.

As if students don’t have enough existential crises to deal with as it is, we now must consider, are we just Procrastinators? Is that all we are, or, like lab-rats with human ears on their backs, what we have been conditioned to become? After some anguished hours spent in pensive deliberation, I decided it would only really do to look further into the matter.

As in most moments of personal doubt, I turned first to Google. The first hit brought up by the magic machine was an intriguing book, “Procrastination and You”. Unfortunately, the great and mighty Google had presented me with an enormous red herring. In his attempt to delve further into this bewildering “phenomenon”, the author of this article realised after “several weeks” spent tracking down the book, Procrastination Through the Ages: A Definitive History and even “enlisting the help of professional librarians” – like the A-team, but quieter – that it was, alas, an elaborate joke.

A book on procrastination that was never completed. Oh, those crazy academics with their ironies. Luckily that minor set-back only inspired me to research more intensely and pass the procrastination on to you.

I resolved to get right back to it as soon as I’d eaten another bowl of bran flakes and watched some X-Factor. Anything to stop me having to do any real work, anyway. I?am another link in a procrastination chain. I?am a student. This is what we do.

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