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Procrastination: The New Plague

Autumn Hoff, Junior Website Editor

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As a junior in high school, I can truthfully say that procrastination is a killer when it comes to writing papers, working out math problems, and even just filling out a simple worksheet.  Being given a week to work on an essay, on top of class time is more than enough time to finish a short five paragraph essay with no word limit, yet I still find myself rushing to write the paper within hours of the deadline. In fact, I started writing this very article way back in November of last year.

The real question to be answered here is, why? Why do we, as teens, feel the need to push things off until the last minute, so we have no choice other than to deliver low quality work? It’s not like you get an instant high from turning in an assignment minutes before the clock strikes midnight, it’s more like instant regret when the Turnitin system does not allow you to turn in your half-heartedly written paper.

At Alliance High School, we have the “No-Zero Policy”; this states that when students do not turn in an assignment on the day that it is due, it goes in the gradebook as an “NHI” or “not handed in”.  The student is then given three days to turn in the assignment before the “NHI” turns into an “INC” or “incomplete”.  Once an INC is entered into the grade book, that student is marked as ineligible for any activities he or she may be involved in, this includes sports, the performing arts, and school dances.  If the student doesn’t take care of the INC by the end of the semester, they will not receive credit for that semester, and unfortunately for some, it prevents them from being able to walk the stage at graduation with the rest of their classmates.

The “No-Zero Policy” was put into place two years ago by superintendent Troy Unzicker.  The policy is meant to encourage students to actually do their work and learn something, rather than taking a zero for an assignment that they didn’t care enough to do. Dr. Unzicker stated that

The no-zero policy is intended to benefit learning.  If homework is being used appropriately, as a valuable learning tool, then it only makes sense we insure students do the work. This policy keeps both students and staff from giving up on the learning process. Of course it is easier not to do the work and just take the zero.  That is not why we are all here. The no-zero policy is just one of many tools we are utilizing to insure student learning take place. Data can be found in our test scores, eligibility list and retention rate, to name a few sources.”

While this system seems to have worked in a fairly positive ways so far, it does have its negatives. One of these negatives being since assignments can be turned in past their deadlines, usually without any point reductions, teachers are often flooded with dozens of late assignments, come semester’s end. This can be rather inconvenient when the teachers have already graded the ones were turned in on time. Due to this factor, some students abuse the system by not turning in their assignments when they are due and end up rushing to finish them all within the last week or so of the semester.  Alliance High’s Algebra teacher, Mr. Lanik stated,

“If it is important enough to assign for a grade then it needs to be turned in regardless of

when that time comes.  Incomplete grades are not fun to give to students, but if they do not do the required work in the required time than those students must face the ramifications of their decisions to not do the work in the first place.”

This is just high school too, what are we, as students, going to do when we are in the real world with jobs that we can’t miss deadlines and still succeed, but instead pay the consequences and get fired? Are we, as students, not being taught the proper worth ethic that we need to get through everyday life?  

Procrastination doesn’t just stop with writing papers. It’s a disease that spreads like a plague among children and adults alike. Even adults procrastinate with everyday things such as getting ready for their day, doing simple household chores, or making an effort to get healthy.  Procrastination is a lifelong disease that has the potential to follow you everywhere you go. Without being taught the proper worth ethic as young adults, future generations of people could possibly exist with such little work ethic that our precious planet Earth could become such a wasteland that it may as well be called Mars. Without that motivation to actually make progress in our world, laziness would take over and waste would consume us all.

 

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Procrastination: The New Plague