Like Frankenstein, procrastination can be destructive in its own lazy, easygoing way. Harnessing its raw, seductive power is difficult, but harness it you must. It’s an art form.
Got calculus to compute? A postmodernist essay to read? A century to summarize in 10 pages? Relax, partner! It’s possible to waste nearly all of your time and still do just fine in your academic endeavors. Impossible, you say? Take notes, young Jedi, for I shall now teach you the ways.
It’s all about being an effective procrastinator, you see, which takes prep work. You need to pave the way for future dawdling, and the groundwork involved is twofold.
In boring or difficult classes, get to know someone brainy – the type that raises their hand a few times each class to say something insightful. Introduce yourself to this person, entertain them, discuss what was said in lecture and pretend to have a strong opinion about some issue. This courtship is similar to a fisherman baiting a hook.
About a week before finals, give your new friend a phone call and express confusion about something in your notes, something that refers to a book. They will tell you that it refers to the 300-page tome you were assigned to read on the syllabus. Act shocked.
“Syllabus?! Nobody said nothin’ about no syllabus!”
Deliver the line with panic in your voice and then pause for dramatic effect. For a few seconds, there will be complete silence on the phone line. The classmate, who previously thought you moderately intelligent, will wonder whether you’re kidding or not. Exhale a weary sigh before continuing.
After much pleading, you will manage to get this person to take pity on you. Compassion in place, convince the classmate to meet at a coffee shop to compare notes and bat a few questions around. Now comes the culmination of your efforts. This is your chance to photocopy every page of their notes and pick their brains, so don’t let them escape until their purpose is served. You’ll be able to gain nearly a whole quarter’s worth of knowledge from this little encounter.
Buttering up your TAs is also vital. I typically use the line, “Now, what do I have to do to get an A? I’m an A student.” This phrase alone can guarantee you a higher grade on at least your midterms. If you play your cards right and don’t betray too much ignorance early on, this question can be the difference between getting a C+ and a B. Use it wisely.
These safeguards in place, you should be able to coast through most of the quarter as smooth as silk. Spend the vast expanses of spare time doing something worthwhile. Write a memoir. Perfect your ability to work the phrase, “I’m Rick James, bitch!” into conversations. Head on over to www.rathergood.com to see singing animals. Live it up!
It is important to remember that at some point, the delaying tactics must end, so don’t be a rookie and put things off too long. If you’re not careful, it may become necessary to run marathons of consciousness, staying awake for days on end with trucker pills in order to play catch-up.
When the time finally comes to study, take a deep breath and relax. It’s going to be okay. Once composed, calmly pack your things and make your way to the Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll, known to most of you as Davidson Library. There you will find little cubicle desks that keep your wandering eyes undistracted and focused on the work at hand.
There are many secrets I’ve yet to impart, many tricks of the trade I have not disclosed. Maybe some other time.
Daily Nexus columnist Drew Atkins doesn’t feel like it right now.