Student Workaholism

The infinite corridor, from the main entrance
Credit: flickr / Ed Yourdon

It’s been bothering me a little lately that some people have been describing me as a workaholic, I think that university effectively rewards workaholism and in the real world it’s easier to avoid. Here are a list of reasons I’ve come up with (feel free to suggest more!):

  • No distinction between work place and home place, since home is where you work some, if not all, of the time.
  • Ditto work time, even people on flexi-time often have set hours in the middle of the day where they’re expected to be working. This is not the case for students.
  • The demarcation between your job and extra curricular activities is fuzzy when you’re a student – i.e. volunteering is in a sense part of your studies, as is the part-time job you do to fund them.
  • Students are rewarded for perfectionism.
  • Studying is infinite – as you will never know everything.
  • Students talk a lot about how much work they’re doing, mostly they’re not doing that much (takes a while to figure this out though) which can skew an individual’s perception of how much they should be doing.
  • The organization of the semester, with little work at the beginning and lots at the end, is inefficient.
  • Feedback is typically limited to letter grades, which do not provide a full picture of work and achievement.
  • Students are sometimes encouraged to manage their time badly through pointless assignments and irrelevant reading.
  • Most time management advice for students seems to consist of “don’t procrastinate”.
  • Businesses have incentives to provide tools to increase efficiency, university’s don’t have incentives, and rarely seem to educate students on tools that will help them work more effectively (for a list of tools I think are useful, see this post).

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