Pandemonium wrote an article about Procrastination earlier this week. And I wanted to get my two cents in there because procrastination is the unfortunate reason I am always running around like a lunatic trying to get things done at the last second. And not writing my she-bomb article on time. And getting out of bed compulsively in the middle of the night to write lists about all the things I forgot to do that day. Which I inevitably lose. Moving on…
Anyways, I took Reading, Writing, Teaching with Professor Frank this semester (awesome course, incredible professor for the record) and one of the articles we read for class was by Amherst’s own Jan Dizard. And this article really spoke to me overall (there were some parts I wasn’t sure I bought into entirely— it’s a fairly dated article). We all sort of know why we procrastinate— to preserve our self worth and essentially have our cake and eat it too. Getting graded, or getting judged, is insanely stressful. And I thought Dizard put it incredibly succinctly:
“In the face of hundreds of pages of reading, lab assignments, and papers to be written, the rational thing to do is to begin early and work regularly on each course. Students should allot time every day to the reading, start the research for term papers promptly, and write outlines and rough drafts of assignments well enough ahead of their due date to permit consultation, reflection and revision. As I describe these rational strategies to my students, looks of disbelief appear and ripples of laughter spread across the room. Virtually no one works that way. Most students write their papers the night before they are due. “Pulling all-nighters,” as it’s called, is a mark of fortitude, not a badge of irresolution or poor planning. Why?
The risk of getting a poor grade, of having an unwelcome truth revealed, is unbearably high, especially with so much appearing to ride on grades. By doing work at the last minute, students create a no-lose psychological condition. If the grade is low, they can point to the extenuating circumstances that prevented them from putting their best foot forward. If the grade is high, it means that their innate intelligence, their raw genius, has shown through. Doing work at the last minute is virtually the only way that students can redefine the situation in which they find them selves so that the most threatening implications of their predicament are neutralized.”
~ Jan Dizard, “Achieving Place: Teaching Social Stratification to Tomorrow’s Elite,” 158
Well put, Professor Dizard, well put.
For the record, I wanted to offer an apology for my complete inability to get this post up on time. So i know no one actually cares why my post was late… the most important part being simply that it was late. It’s all about the product. Duh. But for whatever it’s worth, I was having computer trouble (again) and finals trouble… which I know you can all relate to. Procrastination, whattT?