With the quarter finally coming to a close and finals on the horizon, now is (supposed to be) the time to start buckling down and doing work. Everyone, especially professors and parents, always tells you that if you start early and study and write a little bit each day, finals can be painless. According to that logic, I must just be a masochist.
I am one of the worst procrastinators
ever. I fully recognize that almost everyone says that and I fully recognize that almost everyone (else) is exaggerating. I’m genuinely terrible. Over my near 15 years of schooling, I have perfected the art of procrastination. Obviously, as I’ve matured, my methods of procrastination have become more advanced and time-consuming. I’ve moved on from Procatinator to much more worldly and profound distractions, like Buzzfeed
quizzes and repeatedly pressing the random page button on Wikipedia
. It’s amazing how interesting the history of bread can be when you have so many other things you need to be doing. When I’m really desperate, I’ve even been known to clean on occasion.
Just to be clear, I know most of you reading this are expecting this post to be full of tips and tricks to beat procrastination and maintain your sanity (and a normal sleep schedule) during finals
. That’s not what’s happening here at all.
When I started college, I decided I should finally try to start listening to that sage advice from my teachers and my parents. I promised myself that I would stop cramming and speed-writing at the last minute. Instead, I’d design a plan of attack, spreading out the work I needed to do over a week and a half at the end of the quarter. For six quarters, I tried to make this work for me. For that week and a half at the end of the quarter, I’d lock myself in my room every day, vowing not to sleep until I had completed everything on that day’s to-do list. Every quarter, the result was the same: I’d get nothing done and, due to my brilliant no-sleep clause, I’d be beyond sleep deprived when I actually needed to start working. All of my friends have heard the story about when I was so sleep-deprived, I hallucinated that Michelle Obama
had walked into my dorm room (not to mention that about an hour after the Michelle Obama incident, I called out to my dad to make me some food, which obviously didn’t happen since he was back home in Wisconsin
at the time).
This year, for the first time ever, I chose to accept the fact that I’m inevitably going to procrastinate. I’ve developed a new strategy that works around my procrastination instead of trying to fight it: If I don’t have anything due that day, I take the day off. I eat and sleep as much as possible and rewatch as many episodes of Parks and Recreation as I can. If I do have a final due that day, I will still eat as much as possible, but I’ll just work up until that D2L Dropbox is about to close on me.
The moral of the story is this: find what works best for you. You know your weaknesses and your strengths: play to that. I can’t spread work out over days, but I work incredibly well under pressure. It’s in my best interest to rest up while I can so that I can do my best work when I start my essay six hours before it’s due. What works best for me is ordering General Tso’s Chicken
and having a Halloweentown
marathon the day before a 10-page paper is due.
Do you have any special strategies to get through finals? Let me know so I don’t feel so alone!