Yesterday I read a post by Bryn Donovan titled “Stop Procrastination and Unleash Your Full Power… In Writing and Everything Else” and boy did it make me remember the good ole days of college (like they were so far back, my goodness haha).
I’ve always been a master procrastinator. If such a degree existed, I would have it for sure. Maybe it’s not a good thing to have, but oh well.
In college, I was terrible. We’d get a syllabus at the beginning of the semester with deadlines. We’d get the actual assignment for papers at least a month before the due date. Some classes scheduled library research days where we would learn (for the millionth time) how to use the library resources, find good articles, etc. This class day got incredibly old come my junior and senior year. Just because we’re taking a 100-level class does NOT mean we need to learn how to do research, my goodness. They’d make us turn in an outline or an intro paragraph or whatever.
No matter how hard they tried, I wrote papers the night they were due. Even if they required a rough draft ahead of time, that was written the night before, and then the final paper was rewritten/edited the night before as well.
Some funny (terrible) college procrastination stories:
I took a class called Shakespeare’s Women my fall semester, senior year. It was the last 300-level literature class I needed, which also meant that it was my last chance at the required paper for my senior portfolio: one 6-7 page paper where I at least got a B that was written in a 300-level class. My previous 300-levels did not require a paper this long at any point which is actually why it was put off. That I did not intentionally wait til my last year to do, haha!
My professor was one who tried to force you to work on it long-term. But by senior year, I knew my way around these tactics. Pshh.
So the paper was due at noon on a Tuesday. Did I write the paper the night before? NO. Actually, I had my work study job in the library the morning of, from 8-12, so naturally, I wrote the paper within the 3 hours it was due. I emailed it at 11:57.
No joke, I got a B.
Could I have gotten an A if I’d have written the paper sooner? Most likely. Or at least an A-. She was super particular about how papers were organized. By senior year, I was DONE with school y’all. I’m not motivated by education. I got a BA because you need one nowadays. Of course, now you actually need a Master’s, but I’ve not mentally prepared myself to go back to school yet.
Spring semester junior year, I took a film class. Super fun class! It met once a week, and we’d spend 30 minutes – 1 hour talking about the film from last week, and the rest (it was 3 hours long on Wednesday nights) would be for watching another film.
I got an education in movies when I took those classes. A lot were classics I could never get myself to watch alone, but being forced to watch them made me realize what I was missing out on.
Anyway, we had this paper that was due on Saturday night, but his specific rule was “If it’s in my inbox before the official sunrise on Sunday, it will not be late.”
Hello, excuse to put off this paper.
I worked a lunch shift at Red Robin that day, and then when I got home I texted Brad and convinced him to come hang out. Did not tell him I had a paper due.
He left around 11:30pm, so that is when I started my paper. I made a cup of Ramen noodles, grabbed the big bag of Doritos and a can of Dr. Pepper (I remind myself that this is why I put on weight my last two years of college, haha), and sat down in front of my laptop.
We just had to pick a movie (any movie) post-2000s for this paper, and pick anything out of it and analyze it in a 3-4 page paper. I picked up Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and started watching, waiting for a lightbulb to click over my head on something I could analyze for the entire movie.
I don’t remember exactly what I wrote about, but I think it had something to do with Mr. Rooney.
Of course, writing this paper also meant I needed to sit through and watch the entire movie (I’d only seen it once prior to writing the paper) so I didn’t miss something I could analyze/discuss. Late into the night, I remembered it was the day Daylight Savings began. Spring forward. Ouch. At 2am, it suddenly became 3am. Technically, I turned in that paper at 4:15am.
The email I got back two weeks later was great. Where he mentioned, but didn’t, the timestamp on my email, haha. But he didn’t really care obviously because I got an A. Wooo!
Big difference in difficulty levels between film papers and English papers, obviously.
These past two weeks or so, I’ve been terrible at procrastinating with writerly things. Like I want to enter a short fiction contest. And I want to enter said piece also to the new literary magazine the college I work for is starting. The due dates are Feb 25 and March 1, respectively. I should not put off doing this! It has to be good to be worth submitting.
Usually over the weekend, I sit down and write my Monday Musings post so it pops out at 8am Eastern time. But this past weekend, I couldn’t get into anything productive at all. That’s why I’m here at 6:15pm trying to finish this before it turns into Tuesday.
I put off doing the dishes until Brad had to cave in and do them himself (I cannot confirm nor deny that I did this on purpose).
I have yet to finish the book I got approved for on NetGalley, and I REALLY need to do that. Because there’s another one waiting right after it.
I have yet to start working out again. The bed is too comfortable. I don’t have time. These workouts are boring. Blah, blah…
I’m falling back into the same funk I had in college. Where I’d rather just lay around and watch TV than do something that will make my life easier (and sometimes better) in the future.
How do you pull yourself out of this procrastination funk?
I need to figure it out, and quick!