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Why Students Procrastinate: The Science Behind Procrastination

why students teenagers procrastinate

December 2, 2020

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Procrastination is a battle between two parts of your brain, the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. The limbic system is a set of brain structures that contain the pleasure center. The prefrontal cortex controls planning and decision making. The prefrontal cortex is less developed in teens, which is why the limbic system sometimes (or frequently!) wins out and causes teens to procrastinate. 

Why do students procrastinate?

There is definitely gratification that comes with completing an assignment which makes procrastination difficult to understand. Why don’t students just get it done so they can stop stressing about it? The issue is that some of us are just more inclined to choose the instant gratification of watching a Youtube video or playing a video game  than to work towards the gratification that comes with completing a task.

Because their prefrontal cortex is less developed, teenagers are more inclined to procrastinate. They may not understand or care about the consequences of their procrastination. In addition, students may avoid doing their work because it may be overwhelming for them to even think about. The stress they associate with it makes doing the work painful.

Students struggling in school may also avoid their school work because they think they’ll fail no matter how hard they try. Some would rather blame a bad test grade on the fact that they didn’t study as opposed to doing bad despite trying their best.  

How academic coaching can help a student stop procrastinating 

Academic coaching can be a huge resource for students who have a tendency to procrastinate.  An academic coach can help students break down assignments so that they are less overwhelming. They can also help a student learn how to manage their time better and prioritize. Procrastination is also less likely to happen when students have someone to check up on their progress. They benefit from being held accountable. 

Experienced academic coaches can also pass on tips and tricks to help a student complete assignments more quickly and study in an effective manner. This will relieve some of the pressure a student might feel about school. It’ll make getting things done seem more manageable and achievable. 

While overcoming procrastination is difficult, it’s definitely possible to overcome, especially with the help of an academic coach. 

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