Procrastinators Anonymous

Molly Cahill

Procrastination. We all do it at one time or another. College students, as a breed, have it down to such a well-practiced art form that it sometimes seems to be the natural order of things rather than something to avoid. Trust me on this; I have quite a few years of experience racked up.

The trick to doing it successfully is, of course, like any bad habit, to know when to quit. Remember, eventually that project will be due or the day of that midterm will arrive. As the saying goes, “Your grandmother can only die so many times before people start to become suspicious.”

Almost three years ago now I was planning a trip to Greece and Turkey with my mother, and as anyone who’s ever traveled abroad can attest, the first thing you need to do is get your passport. I no longer remember what was going through my mind to make me do this, but I kept putting it off again and again.

The worst part of procrastinating on something of this level of importance is that you always end up lying to cover up your stupidity until you eventually explode with the stress of it all. And not much more than two weeks before we were set to leave, I did exactly that. I came clean to my mom about the fact that I hadn’t even filled out the paperwork. I was a stressed-out mess, and if she hadn’t been the more level-headed of the two of us, I probably wouldn’t have made it on that trip.

Now for most people this would be a hopeless situation, but I had two things going for me. The first is a mother who knows people, and the second is a big heaping pile of luck. As it turns out, we knew someone who did business with a company called Instant Passport that expedites passports and visas. It’s not cheap, of course, but they managed to get my passport to me less than 48 hours before we were set to leave. I still got to go on that trip and had a great time.

But a word to the wise: Get your passport now. Even if you aren’t planning on going anywhere, it’s also useful as a backup form of identification when you apply for a job.

With the first full week of classes upon us, and a heap of projects and homework looming on the horizon, we can’t afford to fall into old habits. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

Anybody who knows me would probably tell you I’m the last person to give advice about not procrastinating, and maybe they’re right. But you know what they say, “Those who can’t do, teach.” In this case it should be, “Those who can’t ever seem to get anything done on time can tell you more about the consequences of your actions than a goody two-shoes who never does anything wrong.”

So from one habitual procrastinator to potentially another, there is a time and place for everything. Try not to put things off willy-nilly, rather prioritize and stagger. It may seem silly to say something so obvious, but believe me, you don’t want to be the one sitting hunched over a laptop, typing furiously, at 4:30 in the morning.

Molly Cahill is a senior pre-journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].