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A professor’s procrastination is a problem for everybody

Procrastinating, late, disorganized, lacking focus. These are just some of the words you could use to describe a lot of students.

Everyone knows that member of their class who never gets the work or reading done on time or who stays up to 4 a.m. to get that term paper done–the one that was assigned at the start of the semester.

In fact, most of us have been this person. College is tough, and it’s meant to be. And yet, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us know there’s time to do what we need to do if we keep focused and don’t spend too much time on Facebook, Twitter or Peggle (look it up).
We’re disorganized and we know it, and we want to improve because at some point we know that we’re going to have a family and a job, and staying up till 4 a.m. getting things done is not the way forward.

But, there are a few problems standing in our way. Distractions are easy to come by. We’re never more than two minutes away from someone we want to talk with, a game we want to be part of, or, if all else fails, our bed.

However, I feel like there’s another factor we don’t often consider: professors. We all know professors that are organized, well prepared and on track with their classes. In fact, we’re very thankful for these professors, because when we walk into their classes we know exactly where we stand. If we haven’t done the reading for that class we feel like an idiot, and rightly so. If we screw up on the test, it’s our fault because we didn’t study. These professors give you a syllabus, and by the end of the semester that’s pretty much what you’ve studied. If you didn’t learn stuff it’s your fault, because you were lazy or you didn’t care.

But sadly, not all professors are like this and, in some classes, you have no clue what you’ll be studying that day. It may be the reading you were meant to have done for that day, or it may be the reading you were meant to have finished three weeks ago. The professors always seem to be busy or overrun with deadlines.

Midterms aren’t midway through the term because “something came up,” and after a while you stop caring. Why do the reading if you’re not going to discuss it in class? Why keep up to date if the professor isn’t? Why even attempt to structure your time when your professor can change it all with the infuriating phrase, “I’ve just been so busy this week, let’s have the test next class.”

But isn’t this a bit worrisome? If professors who are overflowing with majors and Ph.D.s can’t organize themselves, what hope do we have? Why do they expect us to do the reading on time or hand in papers on the agreed date if they can’t keep to a syllabus?

Thankfully, the bad example of some is made more stark by the good example of others, but I have to wonder: Isn’t it about time that our professors took this responsibility more seriously? After all, not all we learn in college is from books– a great deal is from example.

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