Patrick Trautfield

I have this itch under my skin that I can’t scratch, and it’s only getting worse now that fall quarter is here. What the hell is this nuisance that’s making me feel like I’ve got a million ants dancing all over my skin and has my heart beating so fast it could out-rev a sports car?

I’ll call it “quarteritis.”

It’s the feeling I get before every quarter at Cal Poly; ever since I made the jump from 16-week semesters, I haven’t really given my study habits the fine tuning to keep a comfortable pace with these 10-week quarters. In turn, I’ve developed the nasty habit of procrastination, and it’s with the return of the fall quarter that this habit is rising back to the surface after a summer-long dormancy.

Pulling double all-nighters to put together a half-hour presentation while learning Power Point because you have absolutely zero experience with the program? Done it. Waiting until the last 24 hours to start gathering over 20 sources for a 15-page research paper? Done and done, and I’ll do it again.

Procrastination may seem like an irresponsible and reckless study tactic destined to fail, but it’s the only successful style I can employ to guarantee satisfactory results and personal triumph – and I elicit this anxiety-evoking behavior deliberately and liberally.

In truth, I’ve always been a procrastinator – I swear it’s genetic. I’ve been quite comfortable with the “recognition” that I am a procrastinator because this style works best for me, but I’m certainly not riding high upon cloud nine because of it. Procrastination is one hell of a dangerous road to travel and suitable only for the strong willed (or stubbornly arrogant).

To begin with, the downside to being a habitual last-minute man is the anvil-sized heap of anxiety it can put on your shoulders. No matter how many times you can successfully pull off a research paper or a presentation with less than a night’s work, the fear of failure is a heavy burden to carry -you never know what true obstacles are until you have less than one sunrise to hurdle them.

The worst part is you may never be able to overcome them with the ridiculously short amount of time you’ve naively set aside for academics.

However, if prevailing over high-anxiety situations is your forte, then it doesn’t get any more killer than overcoming an assignment with little time to spare.

It’s the high anxiety hole of a situation that I stubbornly drop myself into that gets me motivated to tackle just about anything professors can throw at me. I have discovered through years of procrastinating behavior that I live to overcome pressure situations. I am what you would call an “adrenaline junky.” I do it just for kicks.

Truly, the upside to being a procrastinator is the monumental satisfaction I feel after finishing a term paper with minutes to spare and finding out the following week that my poorly-timed efforts produced rich results.

Like “extreme” sports and fast cars, procrastination is just another tool I utilize for that rush – a sure-fire way to spice up your life and make academics that much more interesting.

However, be warned: Procrastination takes years of practice to master its most beneficial results and I only use it because it hasn’t failed me yet. You certainly have to exhibit nerves of steel and as I’ve mentioned, a strong, even arrogant, will to become a master procrastinator. Otherwise, your poorly-timed efforts are going to crumble the foundations of your Cal Poly aspirations.

Rationally, it’s best not to employ this nasty habit, but if you have enough brazen, enough gull, and an iron-clad stomach that handles the abuses of shot-gunning a Red Bull, you can achieve just about anything that comes your way, even if a deadline is only a stone’s throw away.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.