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Monday, November 29, 2021

Pants Optional

Admit it, you’re guilty of procrastination. Most of us are. If you really, truly aren’t, then you must be one of those sick people who has a planner that they carry around everywhere with little neon-colored Post-Its sticking out of the edges, detailing your life from the moment you step outside of your front door to the time you say your last Hail Mary and hop into bed. You start drafting your papers a week before they’re due and you can always be counted on to have done the readings before class.

Congratulations.

For the rest of us, procrastination is a way of life. It’s not your fault. You’ve got better things to do, like clip your toenails, check your hair for split ends, stalk the cute boy from the Coho (he’ll respond to your Facebook messages eventually, he’s just been really busy lately. For the past eight months), and pick out new ringtones for everyone in your phone. Even that chick you had to call for notes that one time last quarter.

You’ve always got a great excuse. My personal favorite is the infamous claim,But I work better under pressure!” Before college, this was my excuse when my mother nagged me to do my homework. It’s true, though: unless I know that I’m truly screwed because my essay is due in six hours, I’m likely to not give a rat’s ass.

It’s funny how far some of us will go to avoid doing something that we know we should be doing. In fact, know that as this column was written, its author had not begun studying for the midterm she had in less than 8 hours. Some of us will resort to such tasks as cleaning because we dread having to delve into that scholarly journal or whatever tasty assignment is waiting. I could probably attribute most of my laundry being done to my academic obligations. Imagine that.

I could argue that there are cases in which procrastination is beneficial. Take for example the fact that until recently, Iforgotto go to Navin’s to pick up my readers at the beginning of every quarter. It wasn’t until I realized that I actually needed it that I would begrudgingly haul my ass over there and stroll right up to the counter to let those kindly folks know what I was looking for.

One of my professors this quarter is an awesome dude, but I’m not going to lie: He’s a bit intimidating. I heard the wordspop quizandreadingmentioned in the same sentence on the first day of class. This got me thinking that perhaps I should purchase the reader at the beginning of the quarter like the normal kids do. So I went on over to Navin’s and realized that there was a huge line. Then I decided to go to class and come back later. After six, there was still a huge line. Apparently Navin’s is crowded at the beginning of the quarter. This is reasonable. It makes sense. It just never occurred to me because I never had to deal with it. My procrastination kept me ignorant. Hey, don’t they say that ignorance is bliss?

When it comes to homework, I have to blame my procrastination on the fact that I’m ridiculously distracted. There are so many shiny objects out there in the world that sometimes I just don’t know which one to stare at first. They must be there for a reason. And you know that it’s secretly a little thrilling when you write a paper last-minute and get a higher grade than your goody two-shoes friend who put real time and effort into it. It makes you feel wise, powerful and all-knowing.

It’s not that I’m really irresponsible. I know, deep down, that I’m only hurting myself and that doing the study thing is only beneficial to me if I want to go ahead andfinish in fourand live that grand old American dream with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids and a Corvette or two.

But I still believe that we procrastinators are just a group of misunderstood individuals. We’re not out for self-sabotage. We just like to have our fun. Maybe it’s just the way we roll. Sometimes procrastination works out for the best. Someday the rest of the world will see.

But until that day, we must stand and unite. Tomorrow.

 

MICHELLE RICK procrastinated on writing her sign-off here, so her editor wrote it for her. Reach her at marick@ucdavis.edu.

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