I Can’t Stop Procrastinating in College—What Should I Do?

Dear Greeley Tribune, I am a third year student in dental school. The last two years of university were really amazing. I was really productive and I had a lot of focus and discipline. I’m an INTJ personality type who stands for introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judgmental, and for me, knowledge is a big part of life.

So, in these first two years of university, I studied really hard and got high grades. I wanted to learn to program, so I started doing the course and got a scholarship for it. Not only that, but I have also made great progress by studying a new language. I’ve always enjoyed everything I do and haven’t felt overwhelmed, bored or less energetic until my third year of schooling, when I started procrastinating.

I have skipped my programming and language courses and I can hardly read my college subjects. I spend hours thinking and daydreaming, with almost no focus while studying. Please help.

Sarah, Egypt

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Understand what your needs are now

Alvaro Cia, a psychologist and life coach based in London, UK

First of all, I want to congratulate you on your excellent academic grades. I get what you’re saying about feeling overwhelmed, bored, or lacking in energy. It’s not unusual to feel it and start to procrastinate. In my experience, procrastination can become an unconscious coping mechanism in our brains. This mechanism keeps us from moving forward, in much the same way that overthinking or daydreaming can help us avoid feelings of fear or restlessness.

So it is important to understand that most of the time delay has nothing to do with time management. It is related to the regulation of emotions. Is there anything that scares or upsets you? Can you identify any unusual thoughts, feelings, or experiences that happened between your second and third year of college?

Sarah, if any of these questions make sense to you, I suggest that you allow yourself to get in touch with any feelings of fear, sadness, or discomfort you may be experiencing right now. This can be a challenge, but it is also a good opportunity to understand what you need at this point in your life and to regain your center. This process will come with a lot of energy to embrace whatever makes you happy.

If procrastination persists, meeting with a counselor can give you a safe space and a new perspective to take a positive step forward.

ask yourself what has changed

Richard Orbe-Austin, a psychologist based in New York City, co-author of Joe master of his greatness

are you burnt? Some of what you describe (such as procrastination, emotional distance from areas of interest) are signs of burnout. Should you find yourself studying an excessive amount of hours with no time to take care of yourself, you may be dealing with burnout. To overcome burnout, you want to set good deadlines, increase self-care, and get help (such as mentorship, counseling, coaching).

Have you become frustrated because the workload has become more difficult and do you doubt your ability to succeed? You might be battling with impostor syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon where you feel that you are not smart enough, even though you are successful academically and professionally, and are constantly afraid of being exposed as a fraud. Overcoming impostor syndrome involves talking to others about these feelings with confidence, recognizing that you are definitely smart enough, quelling automatic negative thoughts, and believing that you will be able to succeed. .

Finally, are you really not interested in this subject area anymore? If the daydreams are about other career paths, it may be helpful to think about your other possible career options.

Lastly, I would like to know what changed during this third year so that you are no longer interested in your college subjects. And doing so can help you regain the energy and enthusiasm you had during your first two years.

Identify the source of change

Matt Grawich, Ph.D., professor in the School for Business Studies at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, with expertise in stress, decision-making, and leadership.

The first thing to do is to recognize what may be at the root of this distraction. Were the first two years good because there was no other distraction of relevance?

Perhaps there have been some non-school-related distractions (friends, romantic involvements) that have caused you to lose some interest in schoolwork. These additional demands of interest are known as “desired demands”.

It is possible that the courses you are taking have become too demanding and intensive, and therefore less intrinsically motivating, which can lead to increased procrastination or avoidance (the latter of which may explain daydreaming). Huh).

The best advice is to seek help from on-campus academic or student counseling services, which many universities offer. This will give the greatest chance of identifying the source of the change in behavior and drive.


Greeley Tribune’s “What Should I Do?” Provides readers with expert advice. If you have a personal dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work, and your story can be featured on WSID in Greeley Tribune.

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