Can't stop cramming
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 9:00pm
"Test" is a word that I laughed at before high school. During grade school, teachers moved at such a slow pace that come test time, there wasn’t much information to be tested on anyway.
But after I came to Uni, I realized that relying on memory alone is not enough to get that coveted A. I began to review extensively for upcoming tests. At first, I found it easy to review a few weeks in advance to a test. There were very few tests and I had a lot of free time.
However, as the year wore on, the tests began to pile up. Not only were exams being given in every subject, they also tended to be given around the same date.
On top of that, life went on. I had other extracurricular commitments and not to mention homework. Some things had to be prioritized while others had to take the back seat. Unfortunately, many other things took precedence over studying. I began to put it off later and later and resorted to something I never thought I would do: cramming.
Cramming seemed like an innocent thing to do at first. I thought I would do it just one time because I was swamped with errands during a particular week. But time wore on and now, I never study more than a week in advance anymore.
Part of the blame I like to shift on teachers. Many classes finish their units a day or two ahead of test time. I convince myself that studying isn’t necessary until everything has been covered in class.
But after reading a New York Times article that I found, I realize that I am an academic procrastinator. According to the article, academic procrastinators like to put off looming assignments through excuses such as “I work better under pressure,” and cramming is a form of putting something off through lame excuses.
Now would be a time to insert a clichéd comment like the best way to break this habit is to never start. But it’s impossible for someone to live their life without ever cramming or putting something off until the last minute.
Why do we start in the first place, though? And why is it so hard to stop once we have started? The answers to these questions are closely intertwined with something so powerful that it may not even be in our control. That something is human nature, and because human nature is such a mystery, we may never answer two of the greatest questions surrounding mankind.