Procrastination is slowly, but surely, sucking away every last ounce of my ability to be a productive and functional college student and member of society. Yes, I realize I named my blog "Dehydration and Procrastination" in acknowledgment of the fact that I am a chronic procrastinator. In fact, in the world of college, procrastination is something of an art or skill. But I now fear my "skill" has reached a dangerous level. It's almost like someone who is an awesome lion tamer. (If people even do that anymore.) Sure, you're the best in the world at sticking your head in a lion's mouth without getting eaten, but when you take it to a new level by wrapping your entire head in antelope meat first, you're just asking for trouble.
It's a similar situation with me and my procrastination. I always get everything done, but sometimes I feel a little bit like I barely made it out of the lion's mouth alive. But it's thrilling, darn it! It's that rush from turning in a ten page paper to the professor's office five minutes before the deadline. When you turn in that paper, you're so pumped about actually completing it that you have adrenaline and endorphins rushing through your body like a herd of rhinos. (I'm not sure why I'm all over the African mammal metaphors tonight. Just seems to fit.)
Your adrenaline rush of "Wow, I almost didn't make it, but I DID!" leaves you so exhilarated, that for a while, you can't do anything but brag to all of your friends about how accomplished you are at procrastinating.
College students thrive on this. It's as though enrolling in college also enrolls you in a competition that no one ever speaks about, but somehow everyone knows is going on. You can tell who's playing to win in a few simple ways.
1) Time Spent on Trivial Activities
Those who take their procrastination seriously will spend hours, days, even weeks, putting off an assignment. They will fill their time with movies, chatting with friends, playing Bubble Shooter, rearranging their room, random dance parties, and writing blog posts. Or anything else they can possibly think of that will give them something to do other than their assignment.
2) Amount of Sleep
Because the student has put so much effort into doing everything but their assignment, they will not notice how much time has passed. They will feel as though they perpetually have two weeks until the assignment is due. Suddenly, one night at 1am they will realize that they have to turn in that 5 page critical analysis of a book they never actually read at 9:30. This gives them eight and a half hours in which to read the book, form an analysis, and complete said paper. Sleep is no longer an option.
They will work furiously through the night, forging into battle with only their expert skimming skills, honed over the years of schooling, and copious amounts of their caffeinated beverage of choice. (More on this in point 3.) They will complete the paper with an hour to spare, pass out on their desk, then wake up just in time to stagger into class like Frankenstein's monster.
3) Caffeine Consumption
In order to manage these sleepless nights, the main staple for the college student is caffeine. In large amounts. We get our caffeine from a variety of sources, but the most common would probably be energy drinks, coffee, or pop. Or soda, Coke, carbonated beverage, etc. I realize the terminology varies depending upon where one lives.
When my family lived in Florida, friends would tell my parents "Oh, we always know the Michigan people. They always ask for a 'pop.'" If you didn't know, everything in Florida is Coke. Even if the restaurant doesn't serve Coca-Cola products. It goes something like this:
Waiter: What can I get y'all to drink?
Customer: Coke please.
W: What kind?
C: Pepsi. (Or "orange," "regular," "diet," "Sprite," etc. I've never understood that, but I didn't live in Florida long enough I guess.)
Anyway, regardless of what it's called, college students rely on caffeine to get us through the long nights of cramming and paper writing. Me? I usually stick with Coke (and by that I mean Coca-Cola, just to avoid any confusion) because anything with much more caffeine than that makes my heart freak out.
I had a Mountain Dew my freshman year because it was exam week and the restaurant my friends and I went to for dinner one night only had Pepsi products. A short while later, I was so jittery and out of breath I felt like a hamster on drugs.
Basically my heart gets annoyed when I have too much caffeine, so my doctor has ordered me to never touch an energy drink. Also, I dislike coffee very much. So I'm not the typical college student guzzling down Monsters and pots of coffee. I'm content with the Coke, thanks.
Regardless of my selection of caffeinated drink, I have mastered the art of procrastination. While I always manage to get my work done, I'm beginning more and more to think that I have a problem. Sometimes I try to start work early and give myself a reasonable, responsible amount of time to get it finished. I try, but I feel strange. I have an addiction to procrastinating. Is there a 12 step program for that?