Procrastination makes writing essays seem like penning books

I have a confession to make: I am a major procrastinator. I’m pretty sure that a large majority of Gannon University students wait until at least a week before an assignment is due to work on it, but I’m also pretty sure that, at least lately, I’ve been taking this mischievous activity to a whole new level.

When I was in high school, I generally waited until a few days before my papers were due to start writing them, but I would usually have a topic in mind – and, most of the time, a detailed outline written – far in advance. Not anymore.

I think my problem now is that I’ve always been able to get away with it. From my senior year of high school all the way through my sophomore year of college, I’ve been writing my papers strictly on a night-before-it’s-due basis.

Actually, sometimes I completely ignore the assignment until the day it’s due, and get up early to write my papers before it’s time for class.

Now, I think this would be understandable if I was some kind of math or science-y major, but as an English major this just isn’t working out.

I mean, I have to crank out papers like it’s my job. And someday, it most likely will be my job. But for some divine reason unbeknownst to me, I keep on procrastinating.

Thankfully, this semester has finally helped me come to my senses. I cannot keep doing my assignments this way.

Not only does it add an inordinate amount of stress to my day, but my assignments are nowhere near the quality I know they should – and most certainly could – be. All of this waiting until the last minute is taking a toll on my sanity and my GPA.

I finally realized that I need to start doing better last week, when I handed in a late assignment for the first time. It was something that I normally could have cranked out in about one to two hours, but I put it off until Thursday morning, the day it was due.

I got up early and started working on the paper at 7:30 a.m. I worked and worked through my 9:30 a.m. class, which had already been canceled, and skipped lunch with my friends and my noon class, which had not been canceled that day. The assignment was still nowhere near presentable when it came time to hand it in at 1:30 p.m.

I worked on it for three more hours that day, another three on Friday and then two more hours on Sunday, which is when I finally handed it in. Even then, it wasn’t all that I hoped it would be, and my grade reflected that.

It normally would never take me this long to write a paper, but the only thing I can think of to describe what happened is writer’s block.

I’ve never experienced it before, but now I know that I really do not like it. It took me a total of 11 hours in front of a computer to produce 2,000 words of text. And they weren’t even a good 2,000 words.

Then, just the other day, I suddenly declined not to do an optional assignment that I had planned on doing all semester. It’s not going to affect my grade at all – there are still a few more opportunities to do my optional assignment – but that’s not what’s bothering me.

I am so irritated with myself for neglecting to write that paper. I had no real excuse for not doing it. I just waited until the night before, without even picking a topic, and then it was too late. I wasn’t in the mood to stay up all night writing, so I just didn’t do it.

So, the moral of the story is, I’m going to clean up my act. No more waiting until the morning an assignment is due to write it. Ideally, I’ll start my assignments at least a week before they’re due, giving my writer’s block enough time to hit if it must.

KELLY MORELAND

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