Ah, the end of the semester. Classes are basically over, and all that’s left to do is finish writing some 60-90 pages of research papers and historiography reviews. What do I do? Anything else. I will do anything and everything to not finish assignments until the last possible moment.
This week I’ve emptied out the carrel I rent in the library and moved everything to my newly acquired office space. I’ve renewed all the library books I have checked out. I’ve looked into applying for some federal loan assistance for next year (more on this another time, perhaps). I’ve looked into the possibility of getting a new car (1997 Nissan Pathfinder with 190,000 miles is no longer getting the job done. It’s been a great 7 years, car!). I’ve filed my tax return. I’ve done my laundry, cleaned my apartment, and tied up loose ends for some other errands. And now I’m writing a blog post about procrastination.
I’m not really sure why I do this, but I think it has something to do with the anxiety I feel when the semester is over. Yes, you read that correctly. As much as the mountain of reading and writing that builds over the semester causes me a great deal of stress, I think I get more anxiety when the semester ends, everything has been handed in, and for the first time in 4-5 months, my time is mine to do what I see fit.
Like a lot of people, I seem to work best under pressure, with a deadline looming. Knowing that I work best under pressure, and that the free time when I’m done with work gives me an unbelievable amount of anxiety, I think I fill these last days of the semester with so much extra crap to make sure that I don’t finish anything earlier than I’m able to. The closer to my deadlines I hand things in, the longer I put off the semester-is-over anxiety.
Did I really just say I prefer the stress of lots of work to the week or two of anxiety I get when I don’t have any? Yikes. At least I study for comps this summer, maybe that will keep me occupied.