In defence of procrastination


You are not working. You’re reading this instead. Why aren’t you working? I don’t care that lectures only started the other week; spare a thought for the medicine students who are up every day at 9am in or-der to poke cadavers with sharp things.

You should be working, but you’re not. And chances are if you are reading this you are procrastinating.

It is the archnemisis of the student. Forget the dangers of being run over by an angry local, or of getting into a fight with a bouncer or of accidentally obtaining one of the dizzying array of sexual diseases which I’m sure are floating round a town with this many students.

The true danger lies in constantly pushing your responsibilities to the point that you find yourself awake at 4:53 am on a Wednesday (or is it Thursday?) slowing stirring a cup of Red Bull mixed with coffee and bovril in just your underwear drifting in and out of consciousness as the cursor blinks unrelentingly on.

Each flash drills the nail of guilt deeper into your conscience, making you realise that you are a worth-less loafer destined to a life hearing the ‘bleep’ of supermarket tills over and over again as you push cans of baked beans across the stark red light just so the woman on the other side of the counter with her hairy teeth and lazy eye can squabble over whether or not you have given her the correct change.

You will stumble into bed and vow never again to leave it so late. And yet the next day you will find yourself looking at pictures of some girl on Facebook thinking about how much of a bitch she is, or on reddit looking at ‘funny’ pictures which may or may not make you blow air out of your nostrils slightly harder than usual but never actually make you laugh.

And this last part is precisely the problem. We have the internet. We have the greatest store of human knowledge ever created, at our fingertips at any moment of the day. This is a system where you can look at pictures of cats or see a celebrity’s tits or even, if you’re good at the internet, hire an assassin to kill that awful girl from Facebook.

With these options and many more a mere click away, why on earth-should you want to do work? It’s the modern day student’s kryptonite. I bet Samuel Pepys didn’t have this issue, nor Newton or Jenner. Even Salmond would have had little to distract him from his studies aside trying to hide his erection every time he watched Braveheart.

Despite this, though, I urge you to continue procrastinating. Sure you should do the odd bit of work, but the information which can be gained from mindlessly surfing the internet could be invaluable.

It’s through doing that that I can tell you that James Bond has slept with 44 women in all the novels by Ian Fleming, and of those 44 women 33 have tried to kill him. That’s 3/4 of the people he has slept with. Not even that American guy in McIntosh has those sort of percentages.

In effect, procrastination is a little bit like societies here. It has nothing to do with your actual education and could very well damage your ability to succeed in academia. Indeed, from the sounds of it a decent Rugby Social could leave you with 90% less eyebrow coverage and the prospect of eating out of a tube for the next 5 weeks. But the fact is you enjoyed it while it lasted.

While procrastination is unlikely to end in hospital it still has a negative impact on your studies but this isn’t the point. You will end up with a mind-blowing bank of point-less knowledge, sure to serve you well in pub quizzes (Mondays at 8 in Aikman’s), or a greater understanding of the bottom of a pint glass or even just to give yourself a break from work.

While lecturers and tutors may disagree I for one say continue to procrastinate all you want. Was it not Benjamin Franklin, who has a plaque in this very town, who said ‘put off until tomorrow what you could do today’?

I’m sure it was words to that effect anyway.

So go to the pub, surf the net, do your washing, play golf, take up croquet or knit yourself an ashtray. Do anything but work. And remember: procrastination didn’t have any synonyms when it was first used c. 1500 and you know why? All the writers were too caught up playing scrabble to come up with anything else.

And I would fact check that, but I can’t be bothered. I’m busy playing pool on mousebreaker.


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