It’s 10:39pm and my final paper is due tomorrow at 3:00pm for my Technology and Culture class, which means that I have less than two hours to get it done. You may be asking yourself, why did I wait until the very last minute to do my paper? That is the question that has been posed so many times by top scholars as to why students wait until the final hour to do their work. They even gave it a fancy name called “Procrastination.” As students, that is what we do. We procrastinate; we leave things for the last minute because somehow the thrill of playing Russian roulette with our grades is an instant high. Maybe? There are some students who actually procrastinate and fail and some are completely okay with this. For the most part, students want to do well. We just want any easier less painful way to getting good grades.

After two glasses of cheap red wine – GATO NEGRO to be exact- no buzz at all. Sipping on that cheap glass of wine like it was fermenting for the last decade while reading the last emails my professors sent me into another realm. I decided. Instead of writing a scintillating allegorical inspired piece on Frank’s Underwood’s narcissistic political life and abuse of power from Netflix’s hit television show House of Cards that my final paper, my last show down before graduating from John Jay on June 1st, I would address this painful practice that I had adopted during the last four years of my college history. Even though each year before the semester begins, I promise that I will do better, but end up failing miserably. Sort of like making the same New Year’s resolution only to fail by January 2nd. I decided. Should I go out like G and hope I don’t get an F for this? Because then, that would be really bad for my grade. I’m sipping on CHEAP GATO NEGRO, maybe if I had the balls to have some black haze, would I thrill you with these ideas. But, Alas! We’re talking about PROCRASTINATION.

Since the first day I stepped foot in kindergarten, I have been asking myself the question of why school was invented? What was the purpose of getting up every day at 7am? What was the purpose in spending the entire day from 8am to 3pm in a building with those morbid institutional, drab colors, getting information that only 1% or to be generous — actually extremely generous 10% would be of some use in the real world. And that burning question would stay with me through elementary, middle school, high school and college. I guess at each point in my life, I grudgingly resented the whole process and psychologically rebelled. I mean in elementary school, I cried through the whole process and in middle school, I rebelled, got angry, became hormonal and by the time I got to high school, just when I thought I was getting used to it, I no longer had teachers, parents keeping tabs on me, making sure I met my deadlines, checked my work and ensured that I was a model representation of them. In college, I was on my own, so all of those crutches that propped me up for 12 years were gone. For all of you scholars, if this isn’t a clue as to why students procrastinate, I don’t know what to tell you. And so, here we are addressing this very topic and here is what the experts say courtesy of It’s quite scary.“Procrastination in large part reflects our perennial struggle with self control as well as our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day[1]” perennial? Is it that serious?

And the other experts really go in…

“Procrastination is a complex psychological behavior that affects everyone to some degree or another. With some it can be a minor problem; with others it is a source of considerable stress and anxiety. Procrastination is only remotely related to time management, (procrastinators often know exactly what they should be doing, even if they cannot do it), which is why very detailed schedules usually are no help[2]

As I sit here in front of my computer, the time is now 12:04am. I am reading these articles, I‘m thinking to myself, is it really that serious? Do I struggle with self-control? Am I stressed or anxious? The only thoughts floating through my mind, besides my bed at this hour is that this is total B.S. I am no more stressed/anxious than the average individual living in New York City, the city that never sleeps. With a nickname/slogan like that, did you really expect me to not procrastinate. Forgive me it’s late. Most students wait for the last minute to do their work because they feel like they have better things to do, or other’s are professional crammers who enjoy the thrill of waiting until the final hour and induce bouts of anxiety and stress on the body only to gloat to their friends and say, “Yo, I just did this last night.” or “I did this an hour ago at work.” To add syrup to the pain, let the last minute bout of self-induced stress and anxiety lead to an A. In our minds, my mind, psychologically, this is something that I know I could get away with and I’m still WINNING!

I go on to read a little further and the more I read this, I’m thinking, do I need therapy or need to be on some type of medication. The article then goes on to list traits of procrastination, such as low self-confidence; I’m too busy syndrome, stubbornness, manipulation, coping with pressure issues and my personal favorite, the frustrated victim. In the article, low self-confidence implies that I struggle with low self-esteem feelings of being inadequate and not being able to achieve that level of performance required of me. And I thought to myself, it’s just a paper, not a mental breakdown. The more I get into this paper, the more annoyed I am becoming because I am mentally checking off am I any or all of the above.

The I’m too busy syndrome — I am most definitely busy, I work a full time job, go to school full-time and I’m a full time single mom and all of a sudden I started feeling good about myself, because some of the blame of why I was a procrastinator had shifted to external factors outside my control. The low self-confidence had me wondering and questioning things that a part of me didn’t want to address especially not on GATO NEGRO. Anyhow, let’s move on, stubbornness — in summary- that feeling when you feel like someone is pushing you around and you’re saying, on my own time. Except that part doesn’t apply to me since I enlisted myself to be pushed around and tortured by my professors. After all, I was fulfilling my societal obligation of being a model citizen. Ma-ni-pu-la-tion. Nice word. Essentially, It’s an ego thing. The party can’t start, unless I’m there. I thought about how that applies to me and I wanted to be in this party or did I? That part confuses me, because I wondered if I wasn’t told to get up every day, go to school, go to college, get married and then retire to Florida, could I possibly be doing something else. Coping with the pressures of life. Now this one I have to quote, it’s too good.

“Procrastination is often truly difficult to eradicate since the delay behavior has become a method of coping with day-to-day pressures and experiences. Obviously if one is cured, others will put new demands and expectations upon you. It’s easier to have an excuse, to delay, to put off[3]

The word “cured” stood out for me. A simple reaction to an assignment or assignments just turned into something that needed to be cured. We’ll come back to this. I want to get to my favorite one. The frustrated victim — in summary, I feel like a victim because I can’t get work done like others. And if they are students like me, then 99.9 % of them are procrastinators just like me and the only exception to the rule will be that 1% who has made school a career are extremely disciplined or simply has been institutionalized by school and don’t know how to function outside of its walls-like get a job or JAILED. That’s a whole other topic, let’s keep it basic. Like, get fired and experience the frustrations of life to the fullest. Question? Would that not be enforced procrastination? It is now 1:02am and this has turned into a bonafide academic paper. I am doing research, taking breaks reading on procrastination and finding links and correlations and I come to the realization that I had been sucked in.

My thoughts veered to the labyrinth. I mean, by page two of this paper, that was the reading that was coming to mind, but I wasn’t quite sure, until I thought about the game. I thought about this sentence, “It’s a game which has endured, bringing the age old experience of moving forwards and going astray in our own time and continuing to attach itself to new experiences and ideas (Nicolai, Wenzel 2012).[4] I couldn’t help but feel that what was initially dry humor or an epic rant turned into something real that I had never thought about. You see procrastination is one of those words that has been bandied about and never taken too seriously because its an affliction that is so common amongst students that we casually brush off as a rights of passage that we must go through to become real adults without the supervision and guidance of our parents.

Like the labyrinth, the concept was difficult to grasp. There was mixed feelings of fear and fascination that something that I wanted to address as comical, But, it became serious. It actually held more meaning than I initially thought. When you step back you realize the game is all around us, trying to find our way in this gigantic maze, looking for answers but each answer is met with another question and when confronted with these questions that we cannot answer, we must find a cure.

I find… that in this game that we are in; we have this need to identify and give meaning to everything that goes on in our lives. Something so simple, turned into this deep introspective analysis when it boils down to one simple answer. I didn’t write my paper, because in between work and school and being a full time parent, I barely have time to breathe. It’s not a question of time management. The game is set up with unrealistic expectations of time knowing that it is impossible to get everything done in one day. We are meant to be procrastinators without any hidden feelings of low self-worth or this constant need for self-introspection. OWN IT!

This society is built on pain and pleasure. Anything in between is fleeting and momentary. Like the pain I am feeling at 3am in the morning, I realize that I want to achieve my highest potential, if not I would have just given up and said to hell with this. The sad reality is that I have succumbed to this game and I’m its puppet. And perhaps, being a procrastinator I am retaining a sense of if my identity.

Works Cited

Nicolai, O., & Wenzel, J. (2012). Labyrinth — Ein Buch in vier Vorträgen. Leipzig: Spector Books.

Procrastination. (n.d.). Retrieved May 05, 2016, from

Psychology Today. (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2016, from

[1] Psychology Today. (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2016, from

[2] Procrastination. (n.d.). Retrieved May 05, 2016, from

[3] [3] Procrastination. (n.d.). Retrieved May 05, 2016, from

[4]Nicolai, O., & Wenzel, J. (2012). Labyrinth — Ein Buch in vier Vorträgen. Leipzig: Spector Books.

Re-edited on August 15, 2023

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