When it comes to written assignments, especially research papers that are worth a good chunk of a student’s final grade, professors probably feel like they’re doing the student a service by providing the assignment early on in the semester. I’m sure they feel like this way the student can take their time, choose the right topic, do the appropriate research, and construct a well thought out and interesting research paper for them to read at the end of the year. I’m sure there are plenty of good students out there who follow this model or a model similar to it, and aren’t scrambling to finish the assignment 6 hours before it’s due. I’m not one of those students. I work best (or at least I’ve convinced myself that I do) under pressure, meaning I need my completion of the assignment to be imperative. If I don’t feel there are enough stakes involved, chances are I won’t take it as seriously as I should. I have no idea why that is, because I hate feeling stressed over assignments and that’s all procrastination does for me is stress me out. Nevertheless, I do it every single time I’m given a research paper. Instead of drawing out my typical trajectory, I decided to enlist the help of the internet to accurately illustrate my typical trajectory when completing a research paper.
This is how I feel most days in class.
This is my inner dialogue as soon as the topic of the research paper comes up because I know all it’s gonna do is stress me out.
Now we fast forward from the beginning of the semester to 48-72 hours before the paper is due.
I usually spend a few hours being angry at myself for waiting so long to start working on it.
I then spend some time freaking out and generally being terrified over the fact that I have wasted so much time and convince myself that I’m going to fail the class because I’m a horrible procrastinator.
Once I’ve gotten that out of my system I take a breath, grab something high in caffeine, and begin to work.
Time to focus and figure out a topic to research.
I then take a short break to celebrate the fact that I’ve finally found a topic to work on.
Then there are several hours spent typing furiously to reach whatever page count I have to reach in order for my paper to reach the assignment requirements until…time’s up.