What is Student Syndrome: Psychology Behind

student syndrome and delaying

Do you remember when you were a student? Have you often joked or are you now joking with each other about how you should prepare for the exam the last night? And yes – you have got an assignment that is due for about a week, but you have to work all night before the deadline. Student syndrome is a phenomenon encompassing many people who begin the task shortly before the deadline. Behind Student Syndrome stands an individual procrastination level and ability to manage your time. Read more.

What is Student Syndrome?

The term “Student Syndrome” refers to an observed among students delaying their preparation for exams. Moreover, student syndrome can also be applied to other individuals. Student Syndrome describes the tendency to procrastinate or delay doing a job or work or preparing assignments until the last possible moment. Due to student syndrome, people waste safety margins, resulting in pressure and stress.

What Causes Student Syndrome?

The Student Syndrome is related to psychology and can be caused by several factors, including:


Many students and people struggle with effective time-management skills. Many people underestimate the time required to complete tasks, leading to poor time management. To address this issue, track how long it takes you to complete various activities. This will help you divide enough time for similar tasks in the future. Consider adding buffer time to your schedule for unexpected delays or emergencies.

Perceived pressure

Perceived pressure refers to the subjective sense or feeling that you are under significant external or internal demands, expectations, or obligations. It may arise from various sources, such as work-related responsibilities, academic performance, personal goals, societal standards, or interpersonal relationships. Perceived pressure can create a sense of urgency, stress, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. For instance, students may feel overwhelmed by the pressure of exams or assignments and may postpone studying. Moreover, some people believe that they perform better under pressure and that is the reason why they have a habit of delaying their deadlines.


Digital devices and social media, for instance, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok are the major distractions that can interfere with student’s study time or other people’s activities. Social platforms can be effective distractions due to instant gratification, endless content, social validation, fear of missing out (FOMO), personalized algorithms, and emotional connection. It is a known fact that instant feedback, notifications, and information provide a sense of pleasure because social platforms affect our dopamine response in the brain.

Lack of motivation

During adolescence, the motivation system undergoes changes and various factors, like peers, exploration, and feedback influence our motivation system. Peer relationships lead to a strive to meet social norms and gain social approval. Exploration is related to discoveries and a sense of identity. Moreover, negative feedback can affect motivation negatively. For instance, students may lack intrinsic motivation for studying, particularly if they find the subject matter uninteresting, experience a lack of responsive relationships, or promote pleasure-stimulating activities. The lack of motivation can contribute to procrastination and delay in starting their academic work.


Perfectionism is a personality trait or mindset characterized by striving for flawlessness, setting high standards, and an intense desire to achieve ideal outcomes in all areas of life. People with perfectionistic tendencies often avoid mistakes, seek approval, and maintain a sense of control over their environment.

According to an article published on the website of the Academic Resource Center at Harvard University, there are 3 types of perfectionism:

  • Self-oriented (high expectations related to one’s talents and abilities)
  • Other-oriented (high expectations related to others’ talents and abilities)
  • Socially prescribed (high expectations perceived external pressures or expectations to meet certain standards set by society or others.)
  • The behavior rooted in these 3 types of perfectionism is procrastination.

How to Overcome Student Syndrome?

While the Student Syndrome may provide a temporary adrenaline rush or sense of urgency, it often leads to increased stress, poorer quality work, and a lack of thorough understanding of the material. To combat this syndrome, students and other people can adopt this step-by-step strategy:

1. Recognize The Problem

Recognize and acknowledge that you are experiencing Student Syndrome. Understand that delaying tasks can lead to increased stress and reduced quality of work. Acknowledging the issue is the first step toward addressing it.

2. Make a plan

Break down tasks into smaller, manageable parts and create a study schedule or timeline. This helps distribute the workload over a longer period, reducing the need for last-minute cramming.

3. Set goals and deadlines

Set specific, achievable goals for each study session, work, or assignment. Having clear objectives can enhance motivation and focus.

4. Cut distractions

Create a conducive environment by turning off notifications on devices, finding a quiet place to work, or using productivity apps that limit access to distracting websites.

5. Manage your time

Implement time-management techniques like The Pomodoro Technique. For instance, work or study for 45 minutes, take a short break of 15 minutes and repeat the cycle.

6. Seek Support

If struggling with motivation or time management, consider seeking support from academic advisors or study groups. If you are a worker and have problems with delaying tasks ask for feedback and support from your team leader or boss.

7. Celebrate and Reward Yourself

Celebrate and reward yourself after completing each step or meeting a deadline to reinforce positive behavior and maintain motivation. Also, cope with frustration when things are not going as planned. Treat yourself with the same understanding and support you would offer to a friend facing a similar situation. Remind yourself that everyone experiences setbacks and that it’s an opportunity for growth and learning. But do not forget to get up and move on.

8. Reflect and Learn

After completing a task or project, take some time to reflect on your experience. Identify what worked well and what could be improved. Use these insights to refine your approach for future tasks. Repeat the cycle but this time much better.

By planning, setting realistic goals, breaking tasks into manageable chunks, and maintaining a consistent work routine, you can achieve both high-quality work and a balanced approach to your academic and personal life.

Student Syndrome Examples

Students often start the new semester with new academic goals, such as “increase my GPA” “spend more time on homework,” or generally hope that things will go much better in the new semester—”I’ll study more,” “I’ll read extra literature” and so on. But, halfway through the semester, we find ourselves procrastinating more and more, spending more time listening to an episode of the new podcast or taking an online quiz. We have recently noticed that it is difficult to achieve our goals. We often do something other than tasks that are important to us, for example, we do not write a thesis or do not prepare for the presentation. Is it time to think about the fact that we are procrastinating?

But many students wait until the night before an exam to study. They may spend hours trying to cover an entire semester’s worth of material in a single night, hoping to keep enough information to pass the exam. The Student Syndrome can lead to all-nighters, where students stay up all night before a deadline to complete their work. They sacrifice sleep and proper planning, relying on last-minute bursts of productivity to finish their assignments or projects. Studies have shown that procrastination affects 80-95% of college students.

Moreover, the Student Syndrome, characterized by last-minute work and procrastination, can extend beyond academic settings and affect various aspects of daily life. For instance, procrastination in taking care of one’s health, such as delaying bedtime, putting off medical appointments or check-ups, or neglecting self-care routines until it becomes critical.  Have you ever heard about bedtime procrastination? Bedtime procrastination refers to the act of delaying or postponing going to bed despite being aware of the negative consequences, such as inadequate sleep and daytime fatigue. This can hurt physical and mental well-being.

Manage Your Time More Efficiently

Productivity apps serve as helpful tools to increase productivity, focus on tasks, and maintain focus. Productivity apps allow you to create and organize your tasks in a structured manner. By inputting your to-do list into an app, you can see all your tasks at a glance, set priorities, and divide time for each task. These apps provide reminders and notifications to help you stay on track and meet deadlines. Also, many productivity apps provide analytics and reports that offer insights into your productivity patterns. By reviewing these metrics, you can identify trends, assess your efficiency, and make informed decisions about how to better divide your time. For instance, the Virtue Map app is a productivity app that offers great daily tools and techniques to beat procrastination and improve your time-management skills. According to our app reviews, the Virtue Map app covers efficient anti-procrastination and productivity tools, accountability groups, a scientific basis, and a great price. But it’s important to note that the effectiveness of these apps relies on your discipline and commitment to utilizing them and following the plans you set.


Student Syndrome is associated with procrastination.  This syndrome is a type of procrastination that describes a person who postpones a task until the last minute of the deadline. Student syndrome is associated with students because this type of procrastination is very common among students. However, this syndrome can also involve other life areas including household tasks, personal and professional projects, health and fitness, or financial management. To overcome last-minute procrastination, you need to set clear goals, divide them into smaller tasks, and do tasks with discipline. Do not forget to reward and support yourself.  It should be mentioned that productivity and anti-procrastination apps can be a good way to achieve your goals.


Is Student Syndrome Related to Laziness?

The Student Syndrome or procrastination until the last minute is often considered a form of laziness or simply the inability to manage one’s time, but these three phenomena cannot be merged into one. Let’s think about how many times we went to do the dishes, clean the house, or something like that, instead of finally completing the tasks at hand. According to psychologists, people do not procrastinate because of feeling tired and physically unable to perform their activities. People tend to procrastinate on important tasks to avoid certain negative emotions or negative experiences that are associated with the particular task that they person is procrastinating on. Research reveals that procrastination is related to a person’s difficulty coping with stress and negative emotions. In other words, procrastination acts as a defense because it allows us to avoid a negative experience associated with a task that we cannot control.

Is There Any Good of Student Syndrome?

While the Student Syndrome is generally considered an ineffective and stressful approach to managing academic work, there are a few potential benefits that some individuals may perceive. But it is important to note that these perceived benefits should be weighed against the potential negative consequences and long-term implications. The potential argument for the positive aspects of procrastination is trying to do everything perfectly.  But it’s important to find a balance between striving for excellence and maintaining a healthy perspective. Instead of aiming for perfection in everything, consider focusing on areas that matter to you and align with your values and priorities. Setting realistic and achievable goals can promote a healthier mindset and help beat procrastination.

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