We all see it. The assignment has been posted on Moodle; it’s been on the syllabus since August. We know its there, yet the motivation to do it is lagging behind. “It’s only the second week of school,” we tell ourselves. “We have plenty of time until December. Besides, it’s only nine pages. How hard could it be?”
2. Full Scale Denial
We go about our lives as the semester kicks into high gear. We busy ourselves with our friends, clubs, sporting events, parties, and other classes, never once giving a thought to the monstrous assignment looming over our heads. The present is all there is, we’ll never make it past October. We are in denial.
As November rears its ugly head, our friends try to talk some sense into us; try to convince us that maybe going to the library and working would be a better alternative than binging on Netflix for eight hours. Of course, we ignore them, thinking we know best, unwittingly believing we are still in full control.
Then one day, just as we are about the leave, the professor says the five words no student ever wants to hear: “Remember, your assignment is due.” Those five words that send us into a down-spiraling cataclysm of anxiety and dread, and all we want to do is run away from the room and all our responsibilities.
We are then filled with a white-hot rage, for which we have only ourselves to blame. Yet, we blame the professors anyway, thinking how dare they give us an assignment so large, so impossible, and only give us five months to do it?
Finally, it’s the night before the due date. We have run out of time; we have only got until 11:59. We are determined and prepared, finally, ready to succeed. “We work better under pressure anyway,” we convince ourselves. “Right?” Except we’re wrong. Totally wrong.
Then, we are set off course yet again. By that one button, that glistening little blue button at the bottom of our computer screens that beckons to us, calling out to us: Internet. And once again, before we know it, it’s ten o’clock at night.
We begin to think irrationally. We contemplate if we want to turn in anything at all. Maybe we just say the internet was down and we couldn’t do it. We contemplate attaching a twenty dollar bill, begging our professor to let us pass. ANYTHING to let us pass.
Our fingers are flying rapidly as we type for our dear lives, and we hardly hear our roommates knock on our door to check on us. They’re only trying to help – we know – but all we can think about is that we are down to the wire; that this must be what it is like for the people they send in to cut the cords on bombs in the movies. Just. A few. More. Words.
Finally, we do as we were expected all along. We did it, the impossible. We slam the assignment on our professors’ desk and we march out with pride, waving salutations to the professor and good riddance to the class and its unbearable course work.
It is then that the semester is over. We can resume life calmly, all the while promising ourselves that we will never procrastinate again. That the stress that consumed us was too much. That we learned our lesson, and now we know better. We believe we can take the next semester head on, without procrastination.