Friday, March 27, 2009

Acting Like a Student

I feel worn out. I had to turn in a paper today for Dr. Mike's Developmental Psych class. The paper was a literature review and analysis of a study on mothers who were survivors of childhood sexual abuse. As part of the paper we had to summarize significant sections of the study, present several pros and cons of the author's methodology, and create two additional hypothetical studies related to the original study topic. According to Dr. Mike this should have been a five page paper. MY ASS! Mine was eight pages and no one I asked wrote less than six! Dr. Mike still contends that we probably wrote too much in trying to summarize our selected studies. Whatever!

I waited until the last minute, as usual, to write the paper. There's something about the thrill of intentional procrastination that works for me. Although, truth be told, I almost chose not to do the paper on time. It would have cost me a letter grade for each 24 hours that it was late. Since I can easily get an "A" on any paper that I write, taking an extra day to do a paper and taking a "B" isn't that big of a deal to me. Of course, that attitude costs me when the final grades are calculated.

Last semester, in Abnormal Psych, I had an 89.64 (a high B) before the final exam which meant that I needed to make an "A" on the final to guarantee an "A" for my final grade. Needless to say, that didn't happen, and I ended up with a "B". I could have made an "A" in the class if only I had turned in my term paper on time and gotten the 95 I deserved instead of the 85 that I received for being late!

It seems I am constantly locked in a battle between my desire to succeed and my utter lack of motivation. I know what I want out of life, but it is so easy to just sit back and do nothing, or let random distractions, like reading Raleigh's 20 year Comprehensive Plan for Growth, absorb my time (yes, I actually read stuff like that for fun... but that obsession is a whole blog post by itself!)

I suppose that leads to an important lesson of being a Lifer: Sometimes you have to do it today no matter how much you want to put it off until tomorrow. Granted, unless it is a life or death emergency, almost everything CAN be put off until a later date. But, there are times when the benefits of getting a job done immediately will outweigh the comfort of delay. We would never procrastinate directly doing something we enjoy, but we often procrastinate to do things (like homework) which indirectly lead to being able to do something we enjoy (like graduating college and getting a successful job). A key to having a life well-lived is to be mindful of these moments when the reward for action is more indirectly earned and to push through our natural tendency to maintain inertia. Perhaps, with a little effort, our dreams and goals will start to seem a lot more accessible as a result.

Have fun and keep living life... But stop procrastinating!


Anonymous said...

You need to reward youself when you don't procastinate, and punish yourself when you do. You will find that as a way to motivate yourself.... By punish I mean not allow something like a treat, movie, or something like that..

Ashe said...

That isn't a bad idea, though I have had a history of "punishing" myself in very harmful ways when I was really depressed (starving myself, depriving myself of sleep, spending all of my money foolishly, etc.) so I try to stay away from any effort to punish myself for something these days. I don't want to risk doing something really stupid.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...