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Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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WORK, INTERRUPTED

When pressure meets anxiety and uses social media as an outlet, college students find themselves in the perfect storm of procrastination


Here at Grand Valley State University, we’ve all done it. Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s safe to say that every student has at some point in their college career put off studying for a test until the day before or neglected to write a five-page paper until the day of. Basically, we have all procrastinated.

There’s a non-scientific 50 percent chance you’re doing it right now, with each sentence your eyes scan across.

But what makes procrastination so hard to combat? Why do we continue to put off until tomorrow what we could have done today, even after two decades of eye-rolling our way through lectures about healthy study habits and tips for being successful students.

In an article on the front page of today’s edition of the Lanthorn, Eric Klingensmith, coordinator of crisis services and staff psychologist in GVSU’s Counseling Center, cited being overwhelmed with the tasks before us as the one of the biggest sources of procrastination (and anxiety) facing students. However, with recent statistics showing the mind-boggling growth of social media and new technologies, especially among young adults, we can’t help but think maybe all of those updates might be bearing the brunt of the procrastination burden.

It’s hard to make cyberspace tangible, but the statistics detailed in an article posted online by the Huffington Post titled “100 Fascinating Social Media Statistics and Figures from 2012” are a pretty good indication of how consuming these platforms have become in our society.

Each day, 4.7 billion collective minutes are spent on Facebook by 488 million mobile app users, who reportedly check their Facebook pages five or more times each day. There are 575 likes and 81 comments made on the social networking site every second. Every second.

In the Twitter sphere, above 175 million Tweets are sent each day. 32 percent of all Internet users are currently using Twitter each day, while Instagram is has surpassed the little blue bird, boasting 80 million users and over five million “vintage” photos uploaded each day.

All of that said, these numbers indicate a major shift in how we spend our time. And if what the numbers say is true, that shift is more than likely away from out textbooks and toward the comforting blue glow of the monitor.

However, we digress. Procrastination was around way before the Internet, way before you could total your friends in hundreds and make a fan page for yourself or your dog or whatever. The tricky part about procrastination is that for the most part, it’s mental. And social media, though it may be another avenue, is far from the cause of the problem.

But we recognize that progress moves forward in baby steps, so let’s take it slow, GVSU. Our suggestion? Every time you feel like picking up your phone to Tweet about your homework, trying picking up your homework instead. If homework assignments are anything like status updates, research says there will be about 532 assignments posted to Facebook each day.



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