Lord, what tools these mortals be!


Sorry for my reticence the past few days; I've been busy not studying for my Legal Methods final and, over the past four hours, taking said final. Yesterday I had the day off. This day was designated as a study day for the Legal Methods final. Naturally, this required my elaborate Dead Day Study Avoidance Kabuki Dance.

The first rule is that I can plan nothing fun for these days. Nothing. I must go into them thinking that I will be a good student and spend my time studying. I don't actually believe this, but I must put up the charade, particularly when friends ask what I'm doing.

Ideally, I will stay up late the night before my designated study day. I do this operating on the theory that the study day doesn't begin until I wake up on it, and that once I wake up I must study, and not have fun. Therefore, I am inclined to get as much fun as I possibly can in before my Day of Study begins.

I awaken on my Day of Study very late, probably 10 or 11 in the morning, due to how late I stayed up the night before. I role out of bed and start my computer. This is instinctual; my computer comes on before I do anything else in the morning, even before I silence my ringing alarm clock. I will then eat some sort of breakfast, probably cereal and soy milk. I then reason that, it being part of my waking routine, it is entirely safe for me to check my webcomics. And my frequently visited weblogs. Then of course it's time to go back and check to see if any of the comics that hadn't updated when I checked the first time have updated yet. Then I need to see if anyone's posted anything on the weblogs while I was double checking the comics. Soon it is one in the afternoon.

At this point I feel sluggish. Need to get outside! Sunlight and exercise will invigorate me! Besides, it'll be a working walk. I can collect my thoughts on whatever I'm supposed to be studying and create a plan of attack.

I return. Now I'm hungry again. Make myself a sandwich. Well, I can't study while I eat, might as well turn on the television and see if anything's on. Nothing is, but that doesn't prevent me watching it well after I'm done eating. By now it is 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

I return to the computer to check the on-line syllabus and figure out how to organize my study. Perhaps I even get the browser to the relevant page before I open a second browser and begin checking blogs and web comics again. By 5 or 6, I'm ready to proceed to my next phase: Denial.

At this point I begin thinking, "You know, Molten Boron, you really do know this material pretty well. Do you really NEED to study? Well, you probably should, but do you need to study all that much? This isn't anything at all, 20 minutes, half an hour of work, tops. There's no need to force yourself to do it now." This justifies me in putting on a movie, or perhaps playing a video game for a while. Now it's getting to 7 or 8.

I should cook dinner. Moreover, I should cook an elaborate dinner. It'll be productive! Food helps me not die! Maybe I should start a loaf of bread rising, that'd be a tasty treat tomorrow. Soon it is 9 or 10. Hum. Haven't called my parents in a while. Maybe I should... After an unexpectedly long conversation, it is 10 or 11 at night.

Well, fudge. It's almost bedtime. I've ruined this whole day. Might as well check the websites again...

It is midnight. Technically, the day has ended. Grudgingly, I pull out my notebook, prepare for bed, and lie down with my reading lamp on. I read my class notes, getting groggier as I go. It's a struggle, but I read all 10-20 pages before I triumphantly put my book down. There! A productive day spent studying! Now for a good night's sleep.

It should be obvious that absolutely no worthwhile studying has occurred on this day. It was academically useless. At the same time, I had absolutely no fun this day. The procrastinating activities I did do, which under normal circumstances might be fun, were engaged in a listless way, overshadowed by the knowledge that I really should be studying. All considered, I'd have been more productive actually planning a fun day for my day off rather than pretending to study; I'd have gotten just as much productive done in the 20 minutes before bed, and I might have actually enjoyed myself.

I should also point out that these Days of Studying often have elaborate ground rules, such as "No playing X video game!" or, as yesterday, "No posting to your weblog!" That did not, however, prevent me reading others weblogs, or commenting on my blogs and others's, but damnit, I promised not to post and I didn't post.

So how was the test? Meh. Other people took it a lot more seriously than I did, I think. But, as I've been telling anyone who'll listen, it's a pass/fail course that everyone passes. I'm not sure I submitted what would be an A test on a graded exam, but I'm almost positive I did more than well enough to pass.

Despite the utter unimportance of this exam, though, people were still relentlessly quizzing each other before hand, having panic attacks as they furiously leafed through their casebooks to make sure they knew EXACTLY what the holding was in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defence Council, and, afterwards, undermining each others confidence by asking what they thought, how they answered, how did they incorporate Issue X into the case, oh you didn't use Issue X? That's an interesting approach. Are you sure you could do that? etc.

But now it's done, and I can enjoy my night free of work before I begin my Weekend of Studying for the Torts and Contracts on Monday. Semper fi!

And by the way, a belated good luck to Dianna in submitting her application for re-entry today! Give those bureaucrats hell!


Thank you! I didn't actually get to submit my application for readmission on Friday. I'm still waiting on those bloody high school transcripts (or, setting my SLR on fire and waving it out the window). But I did submit my application to declare Anthro as my major, and the word from the Anthro department is, "Welcome." Yippeeee!

As for the subject of this post, Jacob and I both read it and found it astonishingly familiar. The difference was that he found that depressing, while I found it amusing. I'm tempted to chalk it up to a difference in culture between the physical sciences and the social sciences (the latter tending to approximate the arts and humanities, procrastination-wise).

It's funny when it's a Day of Studying and I can usually get by on whatever I'm studying for with native intelligence and vague memories of the class. It's tragic when it's the dreaded alter-ego of the Day of Studying, the Day of Paper Writing. Those tend to go pretty much the same as the Day of Studying, except for the key difference that, at the end of it, I need an actual physical product to turn in. And, since I am who I am, chances are very strong that the Day of Paper Writing happens to be the day before the paper is due.

The story's the same, except that around 11 PM rather than going to bed and reading my notebook I finally open up Word and start typing. Or, rather, I start typing at 11; usually I go to open up word around 2 PM and it is literally hours before I successfully open it. Around 4 PM I feel I've made progress just by opening it, and reward myself with a sandwich, or perhaps checking my websites again. In any case, once I start typing I sometimes get lucky and finish around 3 or 4 AM. If I'm considerably less lucky, I'm up until 6 or 7, too late to get any sleep, so I have to go get coffee and attempt to power through the day. If I'm really unlucky, I have to skip classes and finish a few minutes before the paper is due in a box or a classroom.

So, naturally, I'm now entering a career where writing is pretty much all I do, perhaps punctuated with occasional public speaking.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on September 23, 2005 7:02 PM.

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