If you know me, I probably seem like one of the calmest people you’ve ever met, comparable to the Dude in The Big Lebowski. Timelines, making plans and generally thinking about the future aren’t my cup of tea. But in reality, I face so much stress on a daily basis that I just don’t sweat the little things in life.
Life, schoolwork and extracurricular activities get so stressful sometimes that I resort to pushing them aside. That is, until I realize I have a paper due in the next two hours. I perfected my habit of putting things off in the almost four years I’ve been at college, but I have a 3.71 GPA and I can’t remember the last time I started a project early.
I wasn’t always a completely lazy student; here’s a timeline of how I managed to procrastinate my way to senior year.
First semester of college. I was ready. I bought binders, notepads, post-its and a can-do attitude. That slowly diminished the moment I walked into my first English class.
There was so much reading that I couldn’t think straight. Trying my best on each of the four 4-page essays assigned gave me a solid B- average. Luckily, the professor gave the option of rewriting each paper. The catch? They were all due on the day the final and fifth paper was due. I stayed up all night shotgunning lattes and fixing four papers. Maybe not the best idea, but I survived the class with an A.
I realized my hard work amounted to nothing, and my procrastination gave me everything. So from then on, I decided the slacker life was for me. I lived a Hakuna Matata lifestyle – that is, until they day before my homework was due.
I spent most of my sophomore year partying and praying to the porcelain gods. If I did any reading at all, I did it at work. I completed essays the night before and crammed for tests at the last moment.
My journalism classes assigned articles due at 8, and I started writing at 6:30. My professors praised my test scores in media law, but they didn’t know I learned all the material the previous night and spent the whole class doing crossword puzzles.
I think I only made it through sophomore year because my job in the mailroom on campus allows me to be on the computer when I work midnight to 4 am. Many a time I finished a Spanish essay at work when I knew it was due later that day.
By junior year, I realized something was wrong with my life. I made it through classes with good grades, but I couldn’t tell you anything I learned from them. Only the hands-on classes, such as newspaper layout design or feature writing, taught me anything I could keep in my head.
My comparative literature class one semester had me reading books about Arthurian legend and epics about good and evil. Seemed easy enough, but my procrastination brought me nothing and my grades plummeted. I wanted to blame the professor, the president, society, communism; anything that would save me from the blame. But I faced it; my procrastinated work was subpar at best.
I started writing my work two days ahead of time, although I still found myself running at 3:55 to turn in work due at 4. At least I created something interesting to read. Well maybe not that interesting. Who really wants to read something entitled “Medieval Women: Transcendental Saviors of the Contemplative Ideal?”
Only a month into senior year, I still do work at the last moment and have almost turned in a few things late, but I feel happy with the quality of my work and the free time I currently have. Procrastination helped to develop my skill of writing under pressure. Who ever heard of a journalism major who turns assignments in early?
Of course, you can still find me on campus running to turn in my articles. And just last night, you could hear me screaming expletives from the couch because my movie class had an article due in 10 minutes that I hadn’t started yet. But it works for me.
I know procrastination probably isn’t the best life advice for someone starting college, but it takes different strokes to make different folks, right? Procrastination comforts me while facing my problems makes me a high-strung mess, and I’m just fine with that. I’ll take my diploma in a few months knowing that I gave it my all, even if I waited ten minutes beforehand to do so.
Main image: giphy.com