It always amazes me how we can claim to rationally believe something, but in practice, act in a way that perfectly contradicts what we know to be right.

In that same vein, I’m intrigued by what happens when we become aware that our behavior is inconsistent, especially in regard to something like schoolwork, something we deal with every day.

I know that if I want to succeed in my courses, spending hours on the Internet is not going to help. You know that, too. But which websites do we frequent more: Facebook or Blackboard? AIM or JSTOR?

If I spent half as much quality time with my textbooks as I do on YouTube or playing BrickBreaker, man, finals would be a piece of cake.

But we as students are peculiarly adept at rationalizing away bad decisions, and wasted time is no different.

The rationalizations are dangerous: I’m not wasting time, my brain is resting. Having ‘downtime’ makes me more productive when I get back to work. And there’s always what I like to call the ‘Sporcle makes you smarter’ argument.

Sure, we all need some downtime here and there, but that’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about the pandemic affecting students everywhere homework is assigned: procrastination.

Students ‘kill time’ like professional assassins. Money, status and even happiness are all ephemeral, lost one day, picked up the next. Time is our only irreplaceable commodity. Yet it is disregarded and cast aside like Lotso, as in Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear, as in ‘Toy Story 3.’

Why then, do we continue to waste our time away? By doing so, we are literally bringing ourselves closer to death.

This is, of course, all predicated on the assumption that we consciously make the decision to waste time. Is this always true? When was the last time you ‘chose’ to do this?

It is much more likely to hear a peer remark, ‘Man, where did the last four hours go?’ than ‘When I get back to my room I am going to do absolutely nothing meaningful or productive. My aim is to see how little I can accomplish in the next four hours.’

We know our procrastination has negative effects. Yet, as any student can attest, we have become a professional procrastination nation, and most times we’re unable to operate any other way.

I don’t know if I could function without Tetris, YouTube and the countless other ways I spend my hours when I should be working.

Why are we so dependent on distractions? What does it say about our society and culture if we are so hung up on distractions? What is stopping us from facing our responsibilities head on? Are you even reading this because you want to or because it’s better than actually doing your work?

Every college student is aware of certain famous and easily identifiable threats. For instance, all of us know to be suspicious of the punch at parties.

But does anyone truly know the danger that lurks everywhere and follows them constantly?

The threat of procrastination continues to be the most cunning, most subtle enemy of every college student.

So the next time you’re struggling to find the motivation to start that report, read that book or finish that assignment, just conceptualize the part of you that wants to procrastinate as its own separate entity. Stare it in the eyes. Let it know that you’re taking control ‘ taking control of your time, of yourself. It’s your life now. Don’t waste it.