With three weeks left in the semester, it is crunch time for many students working on final projects and term papers. Some students may be at ease, as they have been working on these tasks all semester. However, many have probably been putting their assignments off and are preparing to finish everything by pulling an all-nighter – or several, in some cases.
According to an article titled “I’ll Go to the Library Later: The Relationship Between Academic Procrastination and Library Anxiety,” written by professors Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie from Valdosta State University and Qun G. Jiao from the City University at New York, “Approximately 95 percent of college students procrastinate on academic tasks,” while “at the graduate level, 60 percent of students procrastinate.” The authors believe students procrastinate due to either a fear of doing a poor job on the assigned task or a lack of desire to do the work.
Both of these reasons are logical: When a grad student is faced with a master’s thesis, fear can be a debilitating emotion because the student may not know where to begin. Conversely, an undergraduate senior preparing to graduate may not want to see another paper or test ever again and may simply want to throw in the laptop.
This instant gratification type of lifestyle may lead to problems for those who pull frequent all-nighters. Purposely depriving oneself of sleep may lead to future disorders, such as depression and high blood pressure, according to a WebMD.com article titled “Sleep: More important than you think,” written by Michael Breus of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. When trying to survive in the here and now, however, one rarely considers the future.
By procrastinating during a good portion of the semester only to pull an all-nighter in the remaining days, students are severely affecting not only their health, but also their overall effectiveness.
“Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent,” according to the article on WebMD.com.
This can be especially detrimental during the crunch time at the end of a semester, when a student might stay up all night to do a term paper and then have to study for an exam in another class the next day. Unfortunately, it seems to be a chance that students are willing to take.