Completing A (Looming) Assignment

Receive the assignment. Be told by your professor “This is definitely not something you can start the night before it’s due.” Don’t take this as a warning; it’s a challenge.

The looming assignment will sit in the back of your mind for a while – it will weigh you down a little bit, but it won’t actively stress you out until you have anywhere between one to 72 hours to complete it. Start telling your friends about it. Complain a lot. Make as many people as possible aware of how shitty it is for you to do this assignment. Throw around the acronym “FML.” Test some friendships a little bit – hope that you have a strong support system of people who are academically discouraged and apathetic.

If you plan on working on the assignment instead of going out, you might even provoke some tears when you share your agony with others. Know that it’s against the laws of physics to complete a big assignment on a weekend night. Start the night hanging out with your friends while they’re sober, planning to go to the library later. End the night feeling inebriated and guilty, but maybe do a little research when you make it back to your room. Feel good – like you actually made some leeway.

Finally accept that you have to complete this assignment. Prepare to use every arrow in your procrastination quiver. Start by calling your parents. They’ll be really happy you called. Feel a need to ruin that — how can they be happy while you are going out of your mind from self-induced stress? Get sympathy from every source possible. Explain to them that school’s going well, but you kind of hate your classes right now, and have an unreasonable assignment that’s due tomorrow morning. Get lectured a little bit, and use it as a nice little pep talk –- take advantage of them telling you for the 1000th time that academics should be your priority. Really take it to heart this time, and make your way to your favorite study destination.

The options for distraction are even more limitless once you leave your room. Intentionally walk by your friends’ dorms/apartments/houses, and be sure to stop in if it appears they’re there. If you go to a public place to work, scour the building for friends and/or acquaintances. Feel free to bother them if they are clearly immersed in their own work. You’ll be a lot more interested in their lives when you’re procrastinating. Have a genuinely good conversation, but end it abruptly when you come back into the present and realize you need to be taking the final steps in actually starting the assignment. Gain some more sympathy, and be on your way.

Feel like you’ve made as many people aware of this horrible endeavor you’re about undertake as possible. Finally sit down to complete it. Take out your computer. Turn it on. Open a blank document, make your heading, and save the file. Open your web browser. Quickly find the details of the assignment and what’s expected of you. Feel confident that this is going to be easier than you expected. Type a few sentences. Find that you still need to keep the sympathy and compassion flowing, and send out a few quick text messages.

Let the inevitable occur: facebook.com. First, obligatorily update your status: “Huge project due tomorrow, camped out in the library for the day. FML.” Hope it gets some likes and maybe a few comments from genuinely concerned friends. Judge your self-worth by how many notifications you have, and begin mindlessly judging other people you know and don’t know (it doesn’t matter which) for the next five minutes to two hours. Really get engaged –- until the only thing on your mind is some friend-of-a-friend’s-friend’s photo album from Cancun. Eventually lose the capacity to draw any information or judgments of people from their profiles. Click around without using your brain at all. Be unaware that you’re actually pretty emotionally satisfied while mindlessly escaping reality on FB. Wake up from your Zuckerberg-induced stupor. Log out quickly. Feel pretty bad, and kind of exhausted.

Vow to keep your web browser closed. Play some music. Stop it mid-song. Become aware that you’re intentionally distracting yourself. Rush the assignment, and complete it. When your by now extremely large homework emotional support group asks you how it went, act detached and don’t go into detail about how you completely half-assed it. “It went fine.” Question if college is right for you, but be assured your approach to doing schoolwork fits right in with the mainstream. TC mark

image – Scott Feldstein

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://twitter.com/brunodion Bruno Dion

    This is my life.

  • http://twitter.com/simbelsim simbel

    Read this because I was on twitter while needing to finish an assignment due tomorrow. Immediately posted the link to this on facebook. Received likes! Life is good now.

    • http://twitter.com/ljs102 Louis Scuderi

      read this with a class reading open in another tab. cheers!

      • http://twitter.com/simbelsim simbel

        Read this comment while wondering whether I can actually finish the last 700 words. Double cheers and damn you internet.

  • http://twitter.com/FLYamSAM Denden
  • c'mon, now.

    or–stop being a little bitch, do it, get shitfaced on saturday night and nurse your hangover guilt-free on sunday.

  • Brad

    I'm literally doing that right now. On this website. FML.

    • Skylar

      Me too. Good to know we're not alone.

  • Peachs

    Yup, big ass assignment due tomorrow. I'd add: Check blogs repetitively.

  • Keener

    Knew way too many people in university like this. FML, dislike. Glad I wasn't one of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    Thanks bro, I have this looming thesis over me, it's how I feel.

  • DESCHOSES

    this is really great. spot on.
    “unaware that you’re actually pretty emotionally satisfied while mindlessly escaping reality on FB…Log out quickly. Feel pretty bad, and kind of exhausted.”

  • itsme_eloise

    I put off reviewing for my test in a two and a half hours by reading this

  • Guest

    nice article

  • http://meditationsonasubway.wordpress.com meditationsONAsubway

    “Procrastination doesn't end in the classroom, kids,” says the 20-something commenting on ThoughtCatalog instead of formatting his company budget's Excel spreadsheet.

  • Fakes and Ladders

    This adequately describes my undergrad. Well done.

  • http://twitter.com/kassienicolejoy Kassie Rehorn

    Open your internet browser. Have one tab open to your university's homepage, another open to thoughtcatalog.com, another open to your personal blog, and while your at it open another tab to FB and/or Twitter. Read about procrastination/completing an assignment while literally procrastinating and continuing to not finish an assignment (or ten). Open up your university's tab again. Stare at it awhile. Check your university email account even though you know you have no new emails. Back to Thought Catalog. Read a few more entries. Check your phone. Think about how you need to the grocery store but you can't because your broke. Think about what to eat for dinner. Check the refrigerator even though you know it's empty. Put some shoes on and check the mailbox. Make a mental list of all the shit you have to get done, both related to school and otherwise. Become incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of work you now fully realize you need to accomplish. Get semi-determined/focused. Check FB and Twitter. Close out all tabs and do only whatever is due in the next 12-24 hours. Decide you'll go to bed early tonight (finally) so you can actually get some legitimate sleep and so you can wake up tomorrow early and actually get things accomplished. Lay in bed till 3 am realizing that thinking you could fall asleep early was ludicrous, you are a college kid who has had insomnia since you were 13, things aren't going to change overnight. Fall asleep at 4:50 am. Wake up at 7 for your first class. Repeat process.

    • SaraJane

      wow that sounds like me!

  • Don

    You forgot Sporcle.com

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