Spare yourself; don’t procrastinate

Kristine Gill

When my editor assigned me a column for this issue of the Stater a few weeks ago, I was glad it wouldn’t be due for some time. But for whatever reason, I immediately responded to her e-mail to suggest a topic. (I still don’t know what motivation seized me then, but I’m working to harness it permanently.) I told her I would be writing my piece on procrastination to warn freshmen of the habit and to dissuade them from the hellacious lifestyle I now lead.

I felt as if I’d already gotten a massive head start on the assignment just by picking a topic and thinking about starting it early. It was a great feeling, a satisfying feeling – a feeling that, until the day or so before the column was actually due, stuck with me and provided a false sense of security.

Saturday night I typed away feverishly. I like my editor and I didn’t want to disappoint her, but I was doing a horrible job, and I knew it. More importantly, I rightly feared the physical abuse I would endure at her hands should I produce shit. There were only a few hours until my column was due, but despite the pressure, my brain could think of nothing but the new Will Ferrell movie, a new entertainment center for my apartment, my intense desire for a piece of cake and the YouTube clips of aliens and ghosts my sister had recently forced me to watch.

Minutes passed.

“I’d rather be reading about Bella Swan and Edward Cullen,” I thought.

Tick, tick, tick. I checked to see what my sister was doing in the other room. I went to the bathroom. I looked for clothes for my dog online. I picked my nail polish, and miraculously, I produced a column. It reiterated every generic piece of advice your mother and high school guidance counselor ever told you about studying and budgeting your time and maintaining your GPA in college. It was horrible and no one would have read it.

But, Kristine! You’re talking nonsense! How is it that you’ve produced such a flawless column this time around? Having read your pristine work, I do not believe you capable of any less!

I understand your confusion, but I stand by my words. I waited until the last minute, and my work reflected the time I invested in it.

I sent the column to my editor, happy to be rid of it, and went to bed. She wasn’t feelin’ it, either. I received 50 lashings, a verbal beatdown via e-mail and a second chance.

A second chance. This is my second chance. I’m writing this column the night before my second deadline. I’m actually, technically writing it the day it’s due. It’s 12:30 in the morning, and as scrambled as my brain cells feel, I am compelled to pass this message on.

You don’t get second chances in college. You don’t get them in general. You don’t get to redo an assignment that was crap the first time around, and you certainly don’t get extensions for laziness, forgetfulness or stupidity. So do it right the first time around. Tell your friends you’ll see them tomorrow, and start your assignment today. Don’t procrastinate. Study. Plan ahead. Recycle. Use other door. Wash hands before leaving restroom. Stop reading this column and start your freshman year off right.

Contact columnist Kristine Gill at [email protected].