Procrastination: A Scientific Study on Penn Students’ Studiousness

As you hunker down for finals and finally get ready to start doing real work, check out freshman guest columnist Leora Mincer’s report on how to procrastinate! *Punch Bowl is not responsible for failed finals.

As finals season rolls around, we Ivy League scholars are pushed to test the boundaries of our mind, the limits of our body, and the frontiers of our ingenuity. With every physics problem set, philosophy paper, management presentation, and assignment in whatever it is nursing students do, we refill our handy reusable Starbucks cups and buckle down in Van Pelt. Our struggle, of course is to reach the holy grail of scholastic toil and exertion, the key to survival in our high-pressure pre-professional school: the most perfect mode of procrastination.

This reporter, having experienced the truly anti-climactic wonder of the Econ Scream, decided to investigate the true and time tested methods by which my classmates manage to avoid exponentially increasing workloads.

After weeks of intensive anthropological research, I have compiled a fairly comprehensive analysis of how a typical student tackles the schoolwork as it builds up:

1.     A problem set: The subject usually begins by completing half of the problems. Subject watches an episode of Scrubs. Catches a few dirty looks from fellow studiers. Gets up to buy a bottle of Naked Mango Madness and completes problems.

2.     A final: Two episodes of Game of Thrones (engineering), Breaking Bad (the college), Mad Men (Wharton), 90210 (nursing). Ten minutes of scanning final review sheet on computer. Subject’s eyes glaze. A half hour reading Buzzfeed posts – only the ones linked on subject’s Facebook newsfeed. Dirty glances from fellow studiers. Subject studies until invitation from that guy down the hall to go grab some Chipotle.

3.     Two finals: Two episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey, followed by an Insomnia cookie and a thorough cleaning out of a Gmail inbox (this usually involves the subject opening an email and clicking the trash can icon with the triumphant Rocky pose – fists in the air. Otherwise the subject bites lip hesitantly and clicks “mark as unread”). Then, glancing at the clock, subject’s heart rate rises on monitor. Twenty minutes spent debating which test to study for.  30 minutes on Buzzfeed and 30 minutes of watching cat videos on Youtube. Two hours of studying. Repeat.

4.     Two finals and a paper: Subject reads an hour of Buzzfeed, two hours of cat and/or monkey videos, then 4 episodes of Toddlers in Tiaras. After an hour of studying, subject desperately tries to remember how he/she procrastinated in high school. Dirty glances from fellow studiers is followed by an hour on (after subject recovers from shock that said website is still in existence). Twenty minutes spent playing with font on Word Document for paper outline.

5.     Three finals: subject wakes up, looks at planner. Shuts phone and blinds, pulls pillow over head and goes back to sleep.


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