Image from Why We Suffer.

Image from Why We Suffer.

Admit it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done. “Done what?” you ask. Wipe that confused look off of your face. You know exactly what I’m talking about: leaving all the summer homework you were assigned in June for the night before the first day of school. Yes, it can be difficult to pull yourself away from the sunshine to sit down in front of a blank Microsoft Word page or read a dreary book from the 1800s, but in the long run, it will make your summer much more enjoyable. Why should you NOT leave your homework until the last second, you ask? Well, there are two main reasons:

1. Quality. If you’re rushing everything and trying to read a 400-page book and write a literary analysis on it in under 24 hours, it’s definitely not going to be your best work. As high school junior Gaby puts it, “Whatever you do on the last day won’t be as well done as you know you’re capable of.” Besides, submitting something that is obviously not your best work is not a great way to start off the year with your new teachers.

2. Stress. Frankly, it’s just not worth the stress. If you’re trying to rush through your work, you’re obviously going to end up pretty tense. This will in turn affect the quality (check point number 1) of your work. It’s better to spread out your assignments over the summer or designate one day to get all your work done. Besides, the upcoming school year is going to be pretty rough if you can’t budget your time properly. And you don’t want to walk into class on the first day of school with huge bags under your eyes and white hair, do you?

So how should you approach your summer homework? Try these tips from fellow high school students.

1. Make a schedule. Gaby suggests that you should, “make yourself a schedule, estimate how much time it will take you to do each portion of your assignment, and plan accordingly.” This is a great way to keep yourself accountable as you work. It will also help you organize your work and perhaps help you work more efficiently.

2. Pick a day. Maybe you’re not a schedule-y person. Do not fret, there is a solution! Pick a rainy day or a day when you’re not doing anything (probably closer to the beginning of summer so you’ll still be in “school-mode’), and do all you’re work on that one day. It won’t be a fun, but it will definitely motivate you to get everything over with. Then you’ll be free from the shackles of school for the rest of the summer!

3. The week before. What if you need to remember information? Have no fear, I have a resolution right here. High school junior Tabbs advises students to,”do it a couple days before school starts, so that everything is fresh in your mind. When you read the book at the beginning of the summer, you might forget everything that happens!” This way you’re not cramming, but you’re still able to remember all the important information that will probably be necessary at the beginning of the year.

Well, there you have it: summer homework procrastination aversion at its finest. In all seriousness though, try your best to do all your homework before the final night. Last year, I decided to try to complete everything the night before. It did not turn out well. Trying to read two books in one day while annotating them for rhetorical devices was definitely not fun. In fact, I was up until one in the morning trying to finish it. Sure, I was finally able to finish everything, but at what cost? I ended up dozing off in every single class on the first day (definitely not a good way to start off the year) and I received a pretty low score on my project. The lesson? Don’t procrastinate!



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the author

Jenny Zhang is a senior at a suburban high school in Pennsylvania. When not freaking out about college or her SATs or her grades, she can be found practicing piano, running a MathCounts team, organizing her school’s Asian Culture Club and World Affairs Club, and playing tennis. Jenny also has many talents such as falling asleep anywhere at any time, running for every elected position possible and losing every time (she’s 0-5), and procrastinating. Jenny likes to spend a lot of her time on YouTube watching baby videos and obsessing over anything Jeremy Lin-related while eating various forms of food that are high in sugar and/or fat. Her spirit animal is a panda.

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