by Nick Thurkow-Schlund
It’s easy to tell ourselves when we’re doing something wrong. However, it’s another thing to actively try and stop. For example, when we’re bingeing a TV show, we might tell ourselves “just one more episode” before letting the autoplay carry through three more.
We all have a lot of bad habits, even if they’re not the most destructive. Nail chewing, playing with hair, knuckle cracking are some of the more harmless bad habits. We notice other people doing it, and we sometimes know when we’re doing it. There are also more destructive habits like procrastination and overeating.
Perhaps the worst habit plaguing teenagers in our day and age is procrastination. A lot of the people I talked to and know have problems with time management..
All of the seniors I talked to agree that senior year makes their procrastination worse. When I spoke with Shawn Dinwiddie in the final weeks of the year, he said that he tried to work ahead to avoid procrastinating. “I used to do my homework on Friday nights in order to have my weekends free,” he said. “I haven’t worked ahead recently though because I got lazy. To be honest, ever since senior year started I’ve become a lot lazier.”
Sadly, Shawn and the other seniors will need to pick up back up again next year. Work doesn’t disappear in college.
Yet, procrastination seems to affect everyone.. Who would have thought? Brett Hull is a sophomore, but he’s already been slacking a little bit. Brett told me, “My parents always talk to me about getting stuff done early, but it really hasn't stopped me from putting off work. They think I'd do a lot better if I didn't procrastinate and they're probably right.”
It can definitely be hard to stay motivated, there’s no denying that. It doesn’t matter if someone is a freshman or senior, procrastination is universal. I won’t lie, I’m a victim of it myself. For example, nobody even knows how long I’ve been working on this article, it must go back a few months. Ahh, the irony!
Perhaps some other habits, like cracking knuckles, are caused by stress related to procrastination. There’s the urban myth that cracking knuckles can cause arthritis, but it’s unclear how true that is. However, one thing that can’t be disputed is that Melody Lee thinks that her knuckle cracking is a little bit of a problem.
She’s not necessarily proud about it, but she said that her cracking hasn’t been a concern for anyone else. She told me “I crack my knuckles a decent amount in class and during presentations and when I’m just not doing much. No one has really mentioned it to me, so it’s not horrible.”
Unlike Melody, Amir Suber has been confronted about his nail biting. I’ve been a witness to his nails before, and I can understand why people have confronted him.
Amir has gotten better, which I have also witnessed. “I's not as bad as it used to be,” he said. “Now I only bite them around every once in a while. A few people have confronted me, but they usually only ask if it hurts.” At least he’s made some progress. A lot of people never do. My newspaper adviser, Mr. Newman, said he finally stopped picking at his nails...when he was forty-three. That might be an incentive to try to knock out a bad habit before too much time passes.
I relate to Julian Young’s problem the most. Julian says that one of his worst habits used to be, and still is, eating. Bored eating, stress eating, eating for the sake of eating. We both have this problem.
At least Julian has attempted to make his habit less destructive, I cannot say the same. Julian told me, “Eating snacks is a bad habit a lot of the time when I’m bored or maybe a little hungry. I just open my pantry or the fridge to see what’s there and end up taking out some food most times. Over the last few years I’ve managed it better by restricting myself to healthier foods so I’ve developed a lot more self-control.”
Everyone’s got their own little bad habit (or multiple, if you’re like me). Not everyone is perfect, so we’re bound to have slight character flaws.
Not every bad habit is truly destructive, some are almost harmless but a lot also hurt us in ways bigger than we know. Chewing a nail may be kind of gross but it likely won’t lead to you amputating your finger, but procrastinating on that pesky Spanish presentation may just cost you a good grade.
At the very least, writing this article has kept my fingers on the keyboard...and out of my mouth.