The Importance of Being Idle – In Defence of ‘Laziness’

Laziness, not unlike patience, is a virtue. Unfortunately, it is a virtue few can afford to possess as they progress through their time at university. The guilt that comes with the thought of not working hard enough, getting out of bed too late, or missing too many lectures is enough to stress even the most placid of people.

Despite its bad press, it is important to realise that ‘laziness’ is somewhat essential to maintain a healthy way of life at university.

Browsing the catalogues of all your modules at the start of the semester and seeing how many hours of work are required for each module is a sure way to reduce you to a whimpering mound of stress. As you total up the hours of private study that are expected for each module, the revision, the countless hours of reading, the hours of research, you’re suddenly hauled out of the comfort of your house and thrust into the middle of an ocean of stress with no sight of land. Planning your laziness, as odd as it may seem, is a helpful way to stay afloat in the seemingly never-ending ocean. Setting aside some time to plan out your semester is a sure way to ensure that your stress levels are somewhat reduced when it comes down to it. Setting out a timetable for assignment deadlines will ensure that you know when you can be lazy and neglect your work, and that you don’t get an unexpected email telling you that there’s an assignment due next week that you hadn’t even heard of; this example hits a bit too close to home for a certain writer who shall remain nameless.

The stigma surrounding laziness at university is damaging, as it is a misleading term that gives the wrong impression. Taking a well-deserved break, whatever form said break may take, can be misconstrued, with people taking it to mean that you’re not working as hard as you should be. Starting an essay a bit later than would be advised, missing a lecture or two during a rather hectic week, or even just taking the day off to recuperate are all forms of ‘laziness’ that are in fact beneficial. Anything that is not too detrimental in the long run and that helps you get through the week is not something that should leave you guilt-ridden.

Taking personal days to recuperate can be the most beneficial form of ‘laziness’. The difficulty to get out of bed and face the day, let alone leave the house or get work done, can be monumental. The pressures of university can sometimes seem like far too much to handle, and it is far too easy to let that affect you. Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, released 9th March 2017, revealed that the number of students under 21 dropping out of university rose to 6.2% in the 2014/15 academic year. The agency also revealed that 1180 students who experienced mental health problems left university in 2014/15, a 210% rise since 2009. This isn’t to say that taking a day off will miraculously improve anyone’s mental wellbeing, but it is important to take personal days to gather yourself and ensure that it doesn’t get too much. When it comes down to it, that’s more important than any lecture or essay.

Of course, this isn’t to say that laziness for the sake of laziness is something that should be looked down on. Waking up and deciding that you’re just not going to go in today is an elating experience, deciding that you’re better off not going in and would rather spend the rest of the day doing as you please. It is advised that you don’t take liberties with these day-off-for-the-sake-of-it days, however, as it may lead to coming to exam season and coming to the sudden realisation that you’ve enjoyed the tranquil life a bit too much.


Charlie Green

Image Credit: Huffington Post