I have a five page research paper due in less than twenty-four hours, and I’m only halfway done. I’ve got two midterm-sized tests next week. I’ve got thousands of dollars in student debt. I’m supposed to have read a six-hundred page novel about King Arthur by next Thursday. I’ve only got four more hours to write, edit, and post this little project.
So what did I do this afternoon? I watched Animal House.
I had reasons when I put the DVD in my laptop: I’d had a crappy morning and I needed to relax. Besides, I knew the film would give me something to write about for my blog. Two hours later, I’d half-drafted a couple of posts, but nothing I was content with publishing. Not for Animal House. I can use them for future posts, but in terms of output for today, I’ve pretty much been wasting my time.
Procrastination is the little devil on the shoulder of every college student. Why do we give into him so easily? We’re here paying out the rear end for an education, after all. And when we finally knock Procrastination for a loop, his little cousin named Writer’s Block is waiting to sub in for him. I love to write, but all day I’ve been having trouble putting words on the page of any quality, let alone respectable work.
To clear my head earlier today, I took a little walk around my building. I don’t often get the chance to visit other floors, and I wanted to look at the decorations that the RAs had put up in halls other than my own. With thirteen floors spread between three wings, that took a good half-hour. I even discovered floors that I didn’t even know existed! That’s one point for procrastination: even though I wasn’t extremely productive, I learned something new.
While I’m thinking about it, does anyone know what the heck this thing is? It’s on the doors of one of the first-floor halls, where the theme is Pac-Man and old NAMCO games. But I have no freaking clue who this is and Google isn’t helping me. Anybody?
Where was I? Right. Procrastination. See, this is an endless cycle. I went on a walk today and instead of actually working when I got back, I spent twenty minutes searching Google for the name of some stupid video game character. Not my finest hour.
If I had to pull a lesson out of this day, kids, it’s that procrastinating isn’t just bad for your work ethic and the quality of work that you produce. It’s bad for your self-esteem. I keep looking at that list at the top of this post and I can’t help but feel like garbage about what I did today. I may not have felt bad roaming the halls or watching John Belushi crush beer cans with his skull, but now that I have to get started on that paper, I know I did the wrong thing by not getting started sooner.
To be fair, I’ve been trying to write this darn paper for two weeks and I’ve had no luck with it. See my earlier point about not being able to put anything down on the monkey-fighting page…
Paying attention? That right there is what procrastination does, and it’s the dirtiest trick in the book. It justifies everything you’ve done to put this thing off, but in the long run it’s not going to do any good when I have to spend all night writing about babies and iPads (lesson number two from this post: you will write some pointless papers in college).
My teachers weren’t kidding when they warned me against procrastination. Stop reading this and get back to work, people. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it.
But seriously. If anyone knows who that little guy in the picture is…
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