Sep 062006
 
Authors: Geoff Johnson

I’ve come to realize that I’ve never finished an assignment more than 24 hours before it was due. I’m a deadline junkee, an expert procrastinator, professional putter-offer, a more-than-proficient day whiler. My procrastination (I prefer to call it “clock management”) is keen-a finely-honed axe blade of waste-time-iology.

Some of you might argue I am a loose cannon-a renegade, of sorts-in the classroom. I cannot disagree with you. I, unlike those who do not practice this art of procrastination, am simply not afraid of the deadline. Why fear something that’s dead-are non-procrastinators picturing a sort of zombie or mummy?

When was the last time a professor ever stormed around the classroom beheading people when someone turned in a paper late? It happens extremely rarely. There may be a penalty, such as a few percentage points off the grade for the assignment in question, but procrastinators are gamblers-every one of us-and we know that going in. The risk/reward ratio is too great to be ignored.

I wouldn’t be writing this if there weren’t people who disagree with my methods. I have a friend who near-constantly comes to class with papers fresh in hand.

“I say! Good day, Mr. Johnson,” she tells me. “I’ve just finished that paper!”

“Goodness me!” I say, “That paper is not due for a fortnight! Why on earth?!”

“Yes, good sir!” she says. “I might as well, might I not?!” She gives her eyebrows a good workout.

“Poppycock! Hm!” I reply.

“You might try it, sir.”

“Never!”

Which method-that of making things easy on oneself by getting work done early, or that of waiting until crunch time-is superior? We’ve got quite a my-way-is-better-itude match on our hands, haven’t we?

First, I would like to analyze an important part of my friend’s rhetoric: “Might as well!”

Might as well what? Might as well waste hours and days of breeze-shooting? The paper, whatever paper it may be, can wait. My daylong conversation over whether the Hamburglar and Ronald McDonald ever-you know-cannot. “The Price Is Right” cannot. This rhetoric, this might-as-well ideology is stale; it makes me yawn-furiously.

Procrastination works like nothing else can.

Academically, I am the 1987 John Elway of schoolwork put-offerance. I like starting an assignment with not much time left on my own two-yard line. The lead is seven points, so I need to get all the way to the end zone. Each paragraph I write is a short completion. If I can get a page, single-spaced, in an hour, that’s 25 yards and my receiver got out of bounds (do you see-“clock management”).

I do a whole lot of nothing, followed by a whole lot of everything needs doin’ all at once (just like the Denver Broncos when they played the Cleveland Browns in 1987). Every time I write an academic paper, it’s like that fabled AFC Championship game. The Drive. Each time, I put Bernie Kosar in his place at the last second.

My friend (the get-it-in-ahead-of-time-er) is something along the lines of the 2005 Peyton Manning of schoolwork (except with school work, she can’t choke in the playoffs – Ha! I zing again!). She wins 13 games right off the bat, seals up a playoff berth (a playoff berth, for our purposes, being “A-” or better), and she’s done with everything two weeks before everyone else is. This may lead you to believe she has lots of free time. No.

Even if she’s always finishing early, she’s still always working. She might have a week or two at the end of the semester, if she really does finish everything two weeks early. But everyone else is going crazy with toil for those weeks, anyway. So she just sits there with her cats – watching re-runs of “Law & Order: SVU” – for those two weeks.

Now I’m kind of running out of space with this piece, but I want to tell you something. This is the most important aspect of procrastination – of life – really. What I want to tell you is that with every day co

Geoff Johnson, a senior technical journalism major, really wishes he’d had enough time to finish this piece. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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