Procrastination and the joys of Exam Season

As an Economics student, exam time is rather important. 7 exams spread over a month wouldn’t have seemed so bad during A levels or GCSEs, but when the rest of my peers tend to have 2-5 exams and all finish half a month before me, it makes work all the more depressing. This also isn’t helped by all the fun plans being made at times when I still have 3 exams left. If anything it should make me work harder, but the true effect it has is to feed my procrastination.

Procrastination is a funny thing. There’s actually a model based around procrastination by George Akerlof, a famous economist. It, in short terms, tells us that we each have an individual “procrastination coefficient”. This determines how much we will procrastinate and how much welfare we will gain or lose based on this coefficient. If you’re interested in the paper, click here. Unfortunately for most of us, our level of procrastination gives us a massive loss of welfare. To put it in example form, we stress more, achieve less and generally damage our mental health through our own inability to start working.

My own experience this year has not been fun. Understanding that I have 7 exams gives me enough stress as it is, but it’s being made even worse by both my procrastination and outlandishly poor attention span. Hearing people talking about their full day in the library is an impossibility in my eyes, as anything over 3 hours seems like a hugely productive day. Regardless, it is self inflicted pain.

Interestingly, I think exam period as a whole gives me a completely different outlook on my course and degree as a whole. It makes me realise that perhaps I didn’t choose the best course for me. It makes me realise that even the bits I find interesting are still a chore. It teaches me about the ways I deal with stress (in short, I deal with stress badly). Finally, exam period reminds me what I have to lose.

I always just made the assumption that I would leave uni with at least a 2:1. I’m very aware I’m capable of doing it, but I simply find it so monotonous and boring. Up until now, I didn’t really have much to lose if I didn’t perform well in my degree. I’m aware that if I needed to, I could do my own thing and be okay, regardless of degree. Now, however, I have a potential job with a good wage in my sights, an internship and so much more opportunities to lose out on. This is what exam period has done to me, and it has only just begun.

What I’ve got to lose

Another of the joys of exam season is the incessant moaning and/or boasting about how much work each person has done. It really should make no difference to one another how much work everyone does. Everyone has different work ethics, and everyone takes in information at different rates. You’d think this sort of petty childish behaviour wouldn’t exist at university, but it does and all it does is put everyone in the surrounding area in a bad mood. Who needs it.

Despite all my negativities, exam period can bring out the best in people. Seeing everyone back at uni, smiling through the stresses alongside me, does improve my mood. It’s always nice to see you’re not alone in a difficult situation, so with that, I wish everyone the best for exams. We’re all in the same boat, and we’ll all get through it together.

“Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today”

Thomas Jefferson

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