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Last-minute craze more obvious this time of year

A couple weeks ago, I had planned on writing about procrastination and its sweep across the country, an epidemic that seems to especially affect my generation and appears to be spreading to people of all ages. Well, I finally got around to it, and it comes at the time of year when procrastinators are most obvious: Christmas.
Take students, for example. With Christmas break approaching, they are expected to study for finals. As they cram at the last minute ‘ if at all ‘ they’re thinking ahead to Christmas break, who they’re going to see, what family commitments they have to fulfill and what presents will be under their tree Christmas morning.
Procrastinating shoppers are the worst. They’re known to dash out on Christmas Eve to buy that last-minute gift. That’s because they’ve either searched for that elusive ‘perfect’ gift or they’ve forgotten someone on their list that they never got around to putting on paper. They don’t care where they have to go to buy this gift; gas stations/food marts become mini shopping malls. They will purchase the last item on the shelf, irregardless of what it is. It’s the price one pays for shopping at the last minute and being a procrastinator.
I, on the other hand, have not had this problem in the past, thanks to my sister, Kimberly, who buys all the gifts for our family. Then she just tells me how much I owe her. She even wraps most of them for me, too. It’s no secret to my family that this happens.
This year, however, about four days prior to Christmas, I went searching for some gifts on my own, and I still paid the price for waiting so close to the big day.
I was one of probably thousands of Harrison Countians who flocked to the nearest retail store, only to see people with no visible disability parked in handicap parking spots (my apologies to those who truly were qualified to park in those designated places), and vehicles being driven the wrong way in the parking lot, with the drivers showing very little consideration for pedestrians.
The madness continued once I went in the store.
Realizing that all the perfect gifts may have already been purchased, the procrastinators rushed through the store like football players, knocking down anyone in their way.
Maybe it’s time that the country honors those who get things done early, who don’t push the deadlines. The day after Thanksgiving could be the target date. Since not many true procrastinators make the 4 a.m. trip that particular day to get the great deals, perhaps retail stores should have ‘early-bird’ sales on a monthly basis and more frequently in December.
I remember when my teachers would tell my classmates and me, ‘It’s not a race, so don’t rush.’ Well, maybe it should be a race, in an attempt to prevent procrastination on down the line for students. Teachers could reward students for turning assignments in early, even if it’s just a compliment for a job well done.
If students are rewarded for getting things done early and punished for turning things in late, maybe when students get a job or are purchasing Christmas gifts, they will be accustomed to doing tasks in a more timely manner.
For anyone who just finished semester finals, I can imagine how that went. I remember those times, when I would watch a movie or a ball game, or sleep or do almost anything to avoid studying or writing that final paper. Sometimes I did it because I just didn’t want to write or study, and other times, especially when it came to writing, I had writer’s block.
I wonder if the procrastination age is something we can overcome or if there are just too many things nowadays to keep us distracted from the things we should do. I’m sure I could research that and provide some insight, but I’m already passed my deadline for submitting this column.