Here I sat, at this very desk, writing my final term paper for my Intro to Poli-Sci class the night before its due. Monsters and Dunkin’ cups flanking me on either side with not a single bit of stress in my body (besides my body struggling to process the extreme amount of caffeine in my blood).
How times have changed from my young years of being a student. When I was just a wee-lad my freshman year of high school, I would follow my teacher’s advice and start weeks ahead of the due date. I would write the most detailed outlines, finish my research at least a week before I started to write and have a “finished” copy a week before the due date for my teacher to mark up.
I was afraid of the late-night cramming sessions. I would get some sort of anxiety about the thought of the anxiety I would have the night before. I was always a nervous wreck about that kind of stuff. I tried to carry that habit to college, but I had a bit of difficulty.
With my new found independence, I enjoyed all the pleasures an 18-year-old kid would indulge in. Late nights watching Netflix, video games and other activities a college student partakes in. So, the weeks of early work turned into a weekend at best. I had grown as a writer, so I felt that I didn’t need all that time for prep in college. The anxiety of finishing the paper the night before still hit home though.
Since my freshman year, that prep time has slowly and surely declined. I became used to grinding out long nights working in the art studios. They were my productive nights. With my new knowledge and experience of grinding the late nights, it finally cultivated to my worst high school fear.
My Intro to Poli-Sci final last fall was a six-page paper. All I had done was a very minimal outline. It was due at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday and I had roughly 18 hours to research, write and edit it. My anxiety never came.
I have found out that everything is relative. Weeks and weeks of work are pointless if they are not concentrated work. Those weeks in high school were spent playing Flappy Bird or through scrolling twitter. I would “work” four hours a night, but at least two hours were either procrastinating or thinking about procrastinating. They were unproductive nights and wasted time.
18 hours is a long time when working on one task. They were productive, concentrated hours and I was focused the whole time on the task at hand. In those 18 hours, I did all the research, all the writing and all of the editing. It was my highest-graded paper in college.
Ed is a senior Art major.