When You Can Procrastinate No More

This morning while we were at the circulation desk, Colette said that she couldn’t believe so many students had papers due today.Being more cynical,I noted that it was likely that today was the deadline to turn in late papers. But in any case, there was a certain intensity and hysteria in the atmosphere. Things were due, and, for many students, they had procrastinated their way into a wretched experience.

The Jolly Librarian is no stranger to procrastination and the angst it can cause. So are some tips for when you’re down to the wire:

  1. Be realistic about what you’re going to be able to do. Some people say they work better under pressure. My years of grading papers tell me that this is not true. If you have put off a major assignment to the last minute, then your goal is to simply make a passing grade.
  2. Concentrate on the areas that are weighted most heavily. Students sometimes spend time on spelling (and spelling is important) because it’s easy but ignore the content of their papers. So look at your assignment sheet. If misspelled words count off 5 points, but plagiarized sections are an automatic ‘F,’ then, for heavens sake, work on paraphrasing.
  3. For reading assignments, skim the chapters, focusing on headings, italicized words, end-of-chapter summaries, etc.
  4. Manage your time wisely. Now, this may sound weird, considering that if you were a good time manager, you would not be in this situation! But look at everything that has to be done, how much of your grade each assignment constitutes, and make a schedule to do the most important assignments first.
  5. If you are truly in trouble, then talk to your instructor about the possibility of an incomplete.
  6. After the semester is over, go to your local tattoo artist and have the sentence, “Procrastinate no more” put on your arm, where the words and the memory of the pain can put you on a better path for next semester.
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