Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Art of Procrastination: Obie Edition

Erin Koo
Students procrastinating in the Conservatory.

As the end of the semester approaches, the Oberlin student population comes to a divide: those who procrastinate… and those who are too afraid to admit it. From the tiny discussion post to the 14-page paper, nothing is off limits to the inevitable “I’ll do it later.” Throughout our complex journeys, procrastination becomes not a nagging devil on our shoulders but an art form entirely. To examine this obstacle that hinders us from pressing the “submit” button and hopping on our flights back home for the summer, Oberlin students answer the question: What does the art of procrastination mean to you?

This article has been edited for length and clarity.

College second-year Jamie Lewis:

A lot of times I’ll be like, “Oh, I feel like I can’t do my work.” So I’ll just go bike around for a while and go talk with my friends. Sometimes I just sit there and stare into space. I feel super guilty when I procrastinate. Like, very guilty. I’m definitely worrying. It basically just causes more anxiety. Once my friends and I watched The Walking Dead, and I got super into the Walking Dead mobile game. All through finals, I almost beat the game because I spent so many hours a day, like maybe five hours a day, playing the Walking Dead mobile game instead of doing my work. It was fun. Reflected very poorly on my grades, I have to say.  

College second-year Julia Davis:

I do other work so that I can procrastinate productively. Right now, when I’m supposed to be writing my essay, I’m declaring my major even though the essay is due in two days. I guess some of it’s FOMO. I don’t want to miss anything, but I would have to be locked away for six hours to do the essay. I’d say I’m pretty bad at getting things done when I’m hanging around other people. I just want to chit-chat. To me, procrastination is to be unproductive and to feel bad about myself later. In the moment, it’s fun. It’s like I don’t have any responsibilities — even though I do. 

College second-year Calista Hill:

I completely avoid all the schoolwork I have to do and do a variety of recreational activities or watch TV and not think about it. Typically, I text my friends and ask to hang out with them. It’s very stressful for me to procrastinate, but I don’t know how to not do it. Sometimes it can be relieving because you’re not doing work and hopefully having fun instead, but typically it’s stressful because the work isn’t going anywhere. Today I’ve been a lot more productive. When the end of the semester sneaks up on you, you have nothing else to do but work. Because everyone else is working, I think that helps a lot. It encourages you to work, so you feel guilty for not working.  

Double-degree third-year Oliver Smith:

When I procrastinate, I like to watch movies and a lot of TV shows. Generally, if I’m in the mood for something lighter and more comedic, I’ll watch something funny like Seinfeld or The Office. Another thing I like to do is play sports. I’ll play a lot of basketball throughout the day to avoid work. Sometimes I’ll play for like two or three hours. I’ll distract myself until the last possible minute sometimes. If it’s something that I’m not very invested in or interested in, I tend to hold it off for longer. If it’s for a class that I am really enjoying, I’ll typically get those assignments in on time. It’s the other assignments that I dread more that I actively avoid. 

College second-year Naomi Saito:

Mainly, what I do is I find a new obsession or distraction and I get really into it so that I forget about the fact that I’m putting off something else. [The most recent one is] a book called The Lies of Locke Lamora. I’ve been nonstop listening to the audiobook. It’s definitely catching up to me. Yesterday, I had seven assignments due for one class. 

Double-degree third-year Lyric Anderson:

What happens is I’ll go to a building to do work. I’ll go to Kohl Building, and I’m like, “Okay, I’m gonna sit down and write this essay.” And then I run into people, and they’ll be like, “Oh, we’re having a jam session, you should come. And I’ll be like, mm, that or the essay? I find a lot of excuses to do things that I don’t need to do that are still good for me. I’ll make an excuse and say, oh, well, the jam session that I’m going to go to is, if you think about it, part of my degree, so it’s still good for me to do. But what I really need to be doing the whole time is my essay. That’s what happened to me last night.

College second-year Bram Belonsky-Stern:

I have conversations with friends that are sort of impromptu. I mean to do my work, but I run into people at the places where I go to do those projects. I keep on telling myself I’m not going to [have those conversations] because I’m trying to stay on track, but it’s the end of the year and I know a lot of people, so I literally can’t go anywhere without running into someone. It’s polite to talk to them. 

College second-year Ethan Rosen:

I do a lot of preparatory work or other tasks related to the organization of my life that are not directly work, such as doing every conceivable bit of laundry that I could do, cleaning, or acquiring items for the further fulfillment of my life faculties.

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