It’s 10:00 pm. Your clear the clutter off your desk and boot up your computer. You stock the fridge with several cans of your favourite caffeinated soft drink. With longing, you throw a quick glance at your pillow. Regrettably, there is a good chance you will not be joining it tonight. You sit at the computer and roll up your sleeves. It is with some hesitation that you close the tab of your Facebook page; a rare occurrence, but these times make people do crazy things. Every moment is precious. Why? Because your essay is due first thing in the morning… You have exactly eleven hours to complete five pages, have it printed out, and be at school to hand it in at your 9 am class.
This was me in my first year of university. The same scene could also be seen the night before a test for which I was attempting to cram. The lateness of the night wasn’t always so extreme, but it always meant some loss of sleep. And it always meant I had put off my school work until the last minute.
Perhaps it was in pursuit of some sick thrill. There was something invigorating about popping the tab of that fourth coke can, finally hitting the ‘print’ button only when the clock glowed a bright red 3:00 a.m., and finally hugging your cold and lonely pillow with a promise that you would never leave it again.
All I know is that it didn’t work. Grades were mediocre, stress was high, and sleep was nil.
The next time an essay was due, I decided to do something peculiar. I went to the library a few weeks in advance and actually started early. As expected, the result was a great improvement. I actually had time to fully formulate my ideas and allow them to develop. I actually had time to delve into further research at my leisure. I actually had time to study for my tests and digest the material.
If you still have a few weeks or even a month before your big essay is due, start it NOW! As a first year it is hard to appreciate the importance of starting early, but once you start to get into the upper-level courses, your assignments will require more extensive research than a couple late nights can offer. And the earlier on in your degree you get into the habit, the better.
Got a good story about completing an assignment last-minute? Leave your comments below!