Updated: September 22, 2020 | Original Post: October 16, 2019
Procrastination may not seem like a fitting topic in a blog written by a psychotherapist. In fact, when I started my practicum in January 2018, this was not even on my radar as something that I would have to help people with.
Fast forward to April of 2018 I then began working with students in a college program where I still work part-time. Yes, I have helped people who were the victims of abuse, sexual assault, and other terrible traumas. I have supported people with ADHD, Autism, and Borderline Personality Disorder. These are the “usual suspects” in this career path.
Surprisingly, I quickly discovered that meeting deadlines due to procrastination was one of the key issues with which my clients struggled. The result of this – handing in work late or not at all – was something that I did expect to treat: anxiety. It was just the cause that surprised me!
In my blog on anxiety, I discuss how it can impact students and young people so I won’t go into detail again here. Instead, I’ll mention what I think is the core reason for procrastination in students: most have never been taught how to study. This affects students of all ages and in all kinds of programs. In 2020, with the challenges we are facing with COVID-19 the pressure on students, not to mention society as a whole, are increased. This was recorded at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year when schools were reopened. Until now, learning was online. So not only did students have to figure out how to learn purely online they also had to learn on the fly how to do their work online. Procrastination is not far behind.
When in high school, which compared to post-secondary studies is more structured, teachers may provide more detail to students about their work. They may also be more available for help. In younger grades, the work might be familiar to parents and they can then help their child get it done on time.
Many post-secondary students study in different communities from where they grew up; and many even study in foreign countries. On top of their studies (and they can have grueling 8-hour days) they have to cook, clean, work, socialize, do laundry, and other common chores and activities. And of course do their assignments. For a 19 year-old student who has never been away from home this can be overwhelming and a prime cause of procrastination.
If your child, whether in elementary school or in a post-secondary program, is feeling stressed over their studies give me a call. I have extensive experience helping students reduce their stress by teaching them how to study. I’d be happy to have a phone call to see if I can help.