Why Are There Always a Few?

I start teaching my summer course on Tuesday, and I have two sections of 25 students each.

I sent the students their first email about the course this past Tuesday, providing them with information on how to register for the online component of the course as well making them aware that they have two assignments due prior to the start of class on Tuesday.

Since then, I have sent two more reminder emails, and at this point 44 out of the 50 students have successfully registered for the course, and half of those students have completed both assignments.

When I saw those numbers just a few minutes ago, I felt the need to send one more reminder, which I did. I want the students to get off to a good start in this intensive Summer Business Institute program which they are enrolled in.

But I am guessing, based on past experience, that there will still be one or two students who for some reason do not get the assignments completed on time.

Of course, I would be thrilled to be proven wrong, but even if I am, I’m left wondering why some students wait until the last minute to complete such tasks, or even worse, don’t complete them at all.

Why do the majority of the students take care of things in a timely manner, while a tiny minority just put things off?

I should note that I am not preaching or judging. I was, and still am on occasion, just like these procrastinating students.

I know that once we get rolling in the course, all of the students (well at least the vast majority) will be up to speed and on top of their assignments. We are blessed to have smart, ambitious students at Villanova, but there are typically those few who push deadlines to the last minute.

But until the course gets started, I’ll keep checking those registration numbers to see if we hit 100%.

It’s almost as fascinating as checking my blog stats…


66 thoughts on “Why Are There Always a Few?

      1. 🙂 Well its posted, if you are still delaying! Or it might be a nice break for you if you have already started preparing for your class. Every 15 minutes you need a break, right? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Indeed he is!
        Haha! And the dish will run away with the spoon. 🙂
        Well being that I have read the ending I will say this. I was laughing through the whole thing and then I came to the last line and…..yeah I may have ….smacked my head!.. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Some people just have no drive and ambition, Jim. They think other people should do everything for them. I have work colleagues like this and, sadly, most of them are millennials for some reason. This is why I won’t mentor and only do training for high level staff. Our system is flawed and somehow people who should never go to Uni because they are not academics manage to get through and burden the professional world. Sorry, to be so critical but I find it so frustrating having to try and drag unwilling people through a work project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to be motivated when you are doing something you have no interest in. But even then, if you have something that is required to be done, then you need to do it. If you don’t like it, then you need to start looking for something else to do.


  2. I don’t have much tolerance for lazy people. I have a bit of procrastination in me, but I also know that I’ll get things done of time, even if it means staying half the night to complete it. My dad was a hard worker, and I see that quality in my son, too. I believe, more often than not, it falls into the category of learned behavior. I had students who regularly couldn’t get things done on time, and sometimes it was like a switch came on, and suddenly it never happened again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Why? The psychology department may have the answer. I think the reason some put off doing tasks until the deadline and others don’t is because people are just different. Why they are different beats me. Offering a weak defence for the procrastinators 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good question. They might be going through something though? I mean, I know everyone is going through something but perhaps, sometimes when we compare the students’ privileges then it all makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Right, our classes here will start on August and I’m already preparing for adjustments as well. Is your school gonna go fully online?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry my work is so late, Professor Borden, but my dog ate your email! Does that make you feel any better? 😂 If your academic conferencing software had a “like” button, we would lose you forever. Best of luck with your classes!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Procrastination rarely pays dividends in life. Perhaps, a few times in History though I’d suggest it was more strategy than apathy to credit for victorious battles. I learned a great life lesson in 9th grade biology class when dapper Mr. Ralph – attired in 1976’s finest mustard turtleneck, chocolate corduroy sport coat and bleached white lab jacket – reminded me (in front of the class) that I’d missed a homework assignment. When I answered that I’d forgotten to complete it, he hinted that he may forget to give me a passing grade. He didn’t forget. That was the end of my days of adolescent procrastination. Also, he drove a wicked early 70s Volvo 1900 Sports car. Later, I’d go on to be a proud owner of many Volvo’s and Turtlenecks. I learned. Great reminder, Jim. 😊🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m guessing the Mr. Ralph story could have turned out either way; either he drove you to succeed or to fail. I’m glad it turned out the way it did. The world needs more turtleneck wearing Volvo drivers…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He was a prickly, sarcastic sob … to a 14 year-old version of me … but, I respect him because he did what he said he would do and I’m the better for it, both academically soon after and I believe much later in life.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. more stats for you to monitor, a win! as for why the procrastinators, people of all ages are different, from the youngest child through adulthood, some have a hard time getting started when looking at all that is ahead of them, some delay doing new or challenging things, some are not self-motivated, some have had someone pick up the slack for them, some have been given breaks, and some………….? it is interesting, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. absolutely, my little people just act it out by physically running away, saying ‘no!’ loudly, or pretending they don’t hear or understand. actually kind of the same techniques…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Professor Borden,
    Setting aside the high standards needed to matriculate at Villanova for just a minute….
    College students will be college students.
    Thank you,
    Signed, A friend

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good luck with that – you may have more success pushing water uphill, with a rake.

    You’ve reminded me of my boss in my first job. It was a supernumerary post, while I underwent fast-track training. At my first assessment he asked if I found the work too easy, and whether I left everything to the last minute to make it more of a challenge. It sounds like you may have some like me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When I put things off until the last minute, my adrenaline gets going and I find that I finally have the energy to finish the project. Sometimes it improves my creativity. And it gets me off my ass and on my toes, so that I get other things accomplished also. It’s just the way some people tick, I think, and if that’s what works for us procrastinators, what the heck?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that many people seem to thrive on waiting until the last minute – the problem is when things come up that you hadn’t planned for, and you miss the deadline. Speaking from experience… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ah, the joys of procrastination. I took a page out of your book and did a lesson including famous examples of procrastination. You should see what Victor Hugo and Herman Melville did to counteract that problem! At least you are only sending emails.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As someone who has a procrastination problem but is trying very hard to work on it, I think sometimes it’s just scary/anxiety inducing to do even simple tasks so maybe that’s why. I’m guessing this is a pretty anxiety inducing time for a lot of people. And some are probably just being lazy if I’m being honest haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am a student who functions on two extremes. Either I’ll complete all my work way before time or I’ll delay my tasks to the last minute. I guess sometimes anxiety and laziness are at work to affect our working habits, but at the end of the day, it depends more on how interesting the work is and how much importance it holds in our courses. But I guess everyone works differently and might have other perspectives regarding the same!
    Cheers! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Bhagyashree, for your thoughtful comments. As I commented to Pooja, it is quite helpful to get the student perspective on this issue so that I can better manage such situations when they arise. My behavior is close to yours – some things I am able to get done right away, others I push off until the deadline. Have a good day!

      Liked by 1 person

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