“I want to do well on midterms, but I’m procrastinating. Why is that?”

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

If you’re experiencing this you are not alone and perhaps the following explanation can help you understand the underlying reasons for your actions so that you can re-direct your efforts towards your top priorities.

As students, we often do not know what is expected of us by our instructors, including at this juncture in the semester, what upcoming tests will be like and what assessment criteria will be used, and how we will be graded.

This lack of clarity and uncertainty can lead to anxiousness or worry about the exam and our performance on it. These emotional responses can disrupt our attention and make it hard to concentrate in a way that is necessary to actually engage deeply in the studying and exam prep we need to meet Princeton course standards.

Those uncomfortable, aversive feelings associated with the exam can also repel us away from studying. This understandable impulse can lead us to escape FROM studying and INTO activities that reduce our feelings of stress, albeit temporarily. These activities-- like binging videos or mindless scrolling--often reduce disrupting feelings in the moment, but with the result of increasing later stress. When we resume studying we have less time so may feel greater pressure and frequently feel guilty about our avoidant actions. So, our actions did not improve our emotional state for studying in the end.

What can you do about this cycle if you find yourself it in? continue reading...