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Procrastination – Inevitable and Possible

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“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” – Napoleon Hill

3.5 Weeks Left:

Thesis: My first entire rough draft is due tomorrow, and my roommate officially turned hers in today. I hope this letter helps you, somebody struggling so much with procrastination, to continue to make the most of any time crunches that you may find yourself in the next couple weeks.

Dear naïve senior,

I was in your shoes once – excited to face the challenge of thesis, ready to hit the ground running and anxious for graduation. Now look at me. It’s almost 3 a.m. and this is the first homework assignment I have finished tonight.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have not felt challenged in the majority of my classes at Carthage. (But I somehow still find myself pulling all-nighters just to get by.) Sure, the workload on top of extracurriculars is something that I have had to balance, but other than that ¯\_()_/¯

When I watched my friends start thesis, I got excited because I knew this would finally be an assignment where I would actually have to work hard. I was right about one thing – writing a thesis is a challenge, but I was wrong about something else – that this would be the semester I would finally learn to complete my work ahead of time. I mean come on, it’s thesis. Nobody can write a 25 page paper the night before it’s due…right?

I’d like to sit here and tell you what they all say, and what we all tell ourselves actually:

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. DO. NOT. PROCRASTINATE. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.

But, I have a strange feeling that no matter how many times you hear it, you think it and you are advised to do so, you will most definitely be waiting until the last minute. Please take a second now to think about how many times leading up to this moment you have told yourself that you will not wait until the last minute to complete an assignment, and then found yourself waiting exactly until the last minute? Personally, I cannot even think of a specific time that this happened to me because I have too many scenarios to choose from.

Okay, so we have faced reality – you are going to wait until the last minute, you will be pressed for time, and you might start to panic. So now what?

BREATHE.

Find a song that puts you in a good mood and get ready to listen to it on repeat for three weeks. (If you need a good one, mine is “Flashlight” by Jessie J.)

Drive around the Oaks Circle a couple times.

Take your last fifteen-minute nap.

Stop making excuses and get down to business.

Awesome. You have gone the entire semester possibly without putting in nearly as much work as you should have and can admit that you absolutely need to start eating, sleeping and breathing thesis. So that’s just what you will do. When the time is ready, and it will be obvious, you will put in the time that is needed.

It might not be the amount of time that you should have utilized, or the amount of time you thought you would have utilized, but hey, we all make mistakes and this one is inevitable. Recognize that the project you turn in might not be what you thought it would be at the beginning of the semester.

Maybe this is a good thing, maybe it is a bad thing. (Check it out – if yours did turn out exactly how you wanted it to then maybe you should be writing this blog instead.)

Either way, at some points throughout the semester, you might feel disappointed in yourself, or mad, or frustrated, etc. It is okay to feel that way, but do not let it consume you. Play your happy song, and be proud of how far you have come (even if it is only 7 pages in 3 months.)

Time might be feel like it is dragging on because of how stressed you are, but in the blink of an eye, the semester will be over, a weight will be lifted off your shoulders and thesis will not matter anymore. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Good luck, (we all know you need it.)

Take care of yourself.

AND don’t forget to go to sleep.

Note: This insight is compiled of lessons learned from 21 years of successfully procrastinating, but specifically references thesis at Carthage College due to personal relevance.

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