Last Five Minutes, Please.

By Gwyneth Jewel S. Pilon

FIVE MINUTES”—it all comes down to this single phrase before everything seems to roll down the spiral hill of unending “last five minutes.” At first, students may consider this behavior normal until it becomes worse. Imagine having to study entire chapters for only five hours in one seating. But while reading, you got caught up in checking your favorite meme page. How many “five minutes” have passed before you finally open your book again?

            We all get the feeling—procrastination is the mighty nemesis of every student. Pulling an all-nighter is not a new thing for most of us. Yet, with all the terms to be memorized and kept in heart, the time allotted for reviewing is sometimes still insufficient. Imagine spending each night for a week studying for your finals—without even trying to check your Twitter updates—only to end up on your favorite chair on the actual examination day, still dazed and confused as you look at the test paper, whispering, Bahala na nga… basta makapasa.

            I know, we’ve all been there—mental block gets the most of us during examination weeks. It is normal, especially if we have been wholly embraced by the weird art of nervousness that lurks around our “doom weeks” (or so as many call them). In the end, we get frustrated—you are not alone.

            This study habit has unintentionally become deeply-rooted in the students’ mentality, a part of student mentality we cannot ignore. Many believe that because of the growing competitiveness inside classrooms, being left behind means that they “do not belong.” Because of this, students tend to work just for the bare minimum even if it involves cheating. Many endlessly feed themselves with the rotten “basta makapasa” mindset, not even concerned if they gained a thing or two. Passing comes first, learning becomes secondary.

            We have come to tolerate this mentality over time, which had made us somehow incompetent and disadvantaged. But if we consider this normal, it may affect our cognitive behavior and perception towards studying. Eventually, we might fall into tardiness and laziness when we are tasked at home or at school.

            Moreover, other students do not attend some of their classes because, for them, as long as they obtain a passing mark, they no longer care about their competency or even their improvement. This cruel mindset truly binds many young people today. Furthermore, although we may not notice it, our stagnant grades and performances also affect our professors. At times, they reach a certain point when they start to question themselves if they are still good enough.

            If we will keep on tolerating this mindset, it will adversely affect the progress of education in our country. We should all know that in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Philippines ranked 79th in Reading Comprehension and 78th in Mathematics and Science out of 79 countries. These statistics are truly alarming.

            Our parents and professors are there to be our primary helpers and inspiration, but we are the makers or breakers of our future. The essence of education lies on the way we learn how the world works so, as students, we have the duty to exert our very best. We must also practice discipline and realize that attaining education holds our future. Yes, it will be difficult and sometimes draining but, in the end, it all comes down for what it’s worth. We will soon finally achieve our dreams.

            Thus, we must remember when we utter another “last five minutes” to procrastinate and just scroll social media, our parents work hard so we will achieve our dreams. After all, they will not always be there to support us. In the end, we should never lose ourselves.

            And we all hope that by the time we’d be saying “last five minutes,” we will either be professors waiting for the students’ papers, doctors seeing their colleagues on their way to work, or simply the people whom we always want to be.