Back in college (which was so long ago, like two whole years OMG!), finals season brought a certain type of behavior out in all of the students at Wellesley, myself included. As classes ended and reading period began, the internet became slow as molasses as 2,600 young women found new and interesting ways of avoiding writing the 50 pages worth of papers that were due in three short days. Netflix, Youtube, Pandora, Community. It didn’t matter if a student usually didn’t watch tv or listen to music or procrastinate during the rest of the semester. As soon as reading period began, all bets were off.
(Sarah, the above paragraph should, in your case, read “All of the students at Wellesley made excellent use of their reading period study time, wrote 12 drafts of all of their papers, and never, ever watched an entire season of 30 Rock in less than 24 hours during that time.” Ahem.)
When I entered grad school, I figured that as someone who was (slightly) older and (somewhat) wiser, I’d be totally rocking finals season. Procrastination? Pshhht! What’s that?
Right now is, for lack of a better word, what I’d call finals season around here. However, there are 3 terms in a year, so we get an extra finals season. Finals: Buy 2 get 1 free!!! Admittedly, things are a little more low key – I only have to write 2,500 words, do a 20 minute presentation, finish up all of my practical work, and take a chemistry quiz. But that doesn’t mean I’m not procrastinating.
Right now, for instance, I should be writing about the roles of a book conservator…or typing up my condition reports…or finishing a couple of book models…or reattaching the boards on one of the books I’m conserving…or studying for the chemistry quiz next week because I stupidly booked tickets to see the Messiah in London the night before I’m supposed to take it and I don’t actually live all that near London, as it turns out. Instead, I’m writing a blog post, knitting like crazy, and listening to music. Ironically, the song I’m listening to right now features the words “I will be the picture of discipline, never minding what state I’m in.” Mmm…yeah. About that.
And yet, the experience is different. For one thing, in college I got the whole week off to study and write papers during reading period. In grad school, I don’t. I’m in the workshop from 9am-8pm on many days. Any writing happens outside of those hours. Despite having less time, I’m getting more done. I’m actually being pretty efficient, and I’m only procrastinating a little in comparison to my college days.
I’m not sure what this says about me other than the fact that I shouldn’t be given free time when I have lots of work to do. Idle hands are the devil’s work and all that. It just so happens that I do all of my best work when I only have time to get a specific project done without any extra mucking about.
Take, for example that 2,500 word essay I was talking about earlier. I wrote most of this post on Tuesday when I still had plenty of time to get the essay done and was feeling pretty confident that I could type the remaining 1,800 words in the course of three evenings.
That is, until other schoolwork obligations intervened and I found myself sitting here at 6pm this evening with another 1,800 words left to go. Did I mention the paper’s due tomorrow?
And so, faced with a short amount of time, I proceeded to type 3,000 words* in the space of 3 hours. Why? BECAUSE I’M AN ACADEMIC ROCKSTAR, THAT’S WHY. Or, you know, just really good at the whole procrastination thing.
*Yeah, 700 + 3,000 =/= 2,500. I’ve always been a bit, shall we say, verbose. Oh well.
This post was brought to you by the girl who packed for her move to a different country 15 minutes before she left for the airport.