So, here is what I have to say about finals weeks. I still have no clue how to go through them efficiently and with out at least one freak out. For most/all of my academic life, I have suffered from procrastination. I need to feel the fire’s flames licking my feet in order to sit down and start tapping on the keyboard. Even as a grad student this habit has not been fully broken. Perhaps it never will be. Yet, it has gotten better. The excuses have gotten more clever, but in all reality, I think I’ve just gotten better at not letting that part of my brain take over. I mean, doing a 20 page paper the night before, means not doing a 20 page paper. Doing a 1250 word paper the night before, although do-able, is not advised.
I think the issue is holding yourself accountable and not letting you’re motivation slide into the backseat as new, more seemingly grandiose problems take the wheel. As, Jackie noted in her post, a study buddy is a great idea. For me, I use a friend to hold my self accountable. You can make a word pact of say 1500 words in three hours, and then meet up for lunch. That way, you can see the shame in each others faces when you admit that the Taylor Swift videos in your recently closed browsers was not part of your research (just something I heard that happened to a friend of mine…). What ever it is that holds you accountable, find it. You’ll need it because honestly, it is getting harder and harder to justify why you are sitting down writing essays, or studying for that Chem exam, when the world is waiting for you outside. Maybe not all finals weeks fall into such a existential crisis, but when they do, and you start cruising the internet for alternative routes to your life, just ask: “Is this because I don’t want to put in the work right now?” In my experience, I have to answer yes.
I realize this is not exactly a take-away-able nugget of study aid, but instead, a real life experience that is becoming all too common in students’ lives. Just ask why that is. What is it about procrastination that is so ubiquitous in university, or have I completely lost touch with reality?
Either way, get some accountability, be it a friend, your family, or your own future. Figure out a way to prioritize that thing that seems most easily put off by everything else. Yes, it’s only Shakespeare; yes, it’s only ENGL 205; yes, you have more years to come; yes, you’ll forget most of what you’ve learned. There’s so many reasons and excuses for slacking and pushing it aside, diminishing, and procrastinating, but those are the easy things. What is the reason that makes effort, hard work, trying, doing something, possibly because you care about, it rather than what it can do for you, worth it?
Think about it… while you’re staring at that bank screen.