Waiting for the Pixie Dust
I stare at the blank page in front of me hoping that something will come, that at the last minute I will write a work of art. I wait and hope that at the last minute I will somehow understand quantum physics and thermodynamics. I wait for the pixie magic to take its effect, for the pen to just move on its own, for my mind to get filled with knowledge like an empty glass with milk. Sadly, the pixie dust never comes.
I wait and wait. I know that hoping on the magic of pixie dust is useless and that last minute master pieces are rare. But I still do it, I still procrastinate. Back in high school finals did not scare me; I barely studied and still got A’s. The same did not go for college. December 2012 marked the end to my first semester and before any celebration commenced, I had to go through my first hell week-finals week.
A week before finals, realizing all the work I had to get done in such a short time I made an hour by hour schedule to keep myself and not waste any time. I felt proud of myself, satisfied that I was on the right track by planning ahead. My plan: study Chemistry for three hours a day, then study Biology for three hours, and review for Statistics for an hour. The schedule seemed perfect, and I knew that everything would work out if I followed it. I knew that following it would avoid my waiting for pixie dust.
But this schedule was not that much help. My ritual for writing papers and studying for exams commenced. First, I got myself situated in front of my desk with my notes, laptop, flashcards, pen, and pencil ready. Then as I was about to start I saw something on the floor. This small tidying up led to the entire room getting cleaned. My room may not always be the cleanest, but during finals week it tends to be super clean.
I cleaned because apparently I could not study in a room that was dirty. It was just simply too distracting. After cleaning, I convinced myself I was really going to start. I was no longer going to get distracted when I made the mistake of going online and logging onto Facebook.
I read articles that I normally would only glance at. I also complained to my best friend about everything I had to do, and she complained back about her finals. Our messages went something like this: “I’m so over college. I’m going to drop out. Like it has been fun. It has been a great semester.
But college isn’t for me. K bye…lol…I wish….” After more complaining, I asked her, “Why are we going all Facebook mad and liking everything when we rarely use Facebook?” To this she replied with a truth we both knew, “Because we are trying to avoid doing work.” After complaining, I started to study, but after just an hour I convinced myself I deserved an award. After an hour of studying functional groups and electronegativity, I convinced myself I somehow deserved an equal hour of mindless television. One hour of thermodynamics equaled one hour of The Walking Dead.
That hour break somehow expanded into a short The Walking Dead marathon. Then it finally hit me. I had no more time to waste. I was hours away from the first final exam of my college career, and I knew I was not ready. I knew that I had wasted my time.
This late realization led to tears, frustration, and stress. Procrastination is equivalent to an unhealthy relationship. Both lead to pain and belittling. Just as in the heat of an argument with a significant other, I have called myself stupid and useless due to the stress of procrastination. My relationship with procrastination like an unhealthy romantic relationship, is a roller coaster ride. I feel happy knowing that my present self does not have to worry and that my future self will work it out and then regret that decision later on.
Procrastination is unhealthy, and the worst part is that I know it is. But I still keep doing it. I keep going back to what only causes me pain. Procrastination is as familiar to me as the familiarity found in an unhealthy relationship. This familiarity makes it hard to break off the relationship and start a new and healthy one. The worst part of my procrastinating routine is that since I always finish my work, I convince myself that I will somehow get it done.
That at the last minute Tinker Bell will come to my rescue and give me some of her pixie dust. Just as in unhealthy relationships individuals convince themselves that at the end everything will work out because things always work out. Instead of allowing my present self to worry, I put all the stress on my future self. Some argue that some of their best work is the product of procrastination. The important word here is some.
Just as planning ahead does not always mean success, procrastinating does not always produce one’s best work. Some unhealthy relationships do work out, but not all of them. Another argument is that procrastination leads to work that would not get done if it was done earlier and that the pressure of having to finish in a short time leads people to finish their work on time. This pressure does tend to speed up the process, but at the same time this pressure creates a do or die mentality and this makes nobody feel good. There have been times where I have shed tears writing papers at the last minute because it was too much pressure. I knew that I had to finish soon or my grade would drop.
Some may do well under pressure, but others crack under it. After my first hell week was over all that was left was wait. My results: B on Chemistry exam, A on Statistics exam, and C on Biology exam. These grades are not bad, but they made me realize I had potential and that if I could get those grades with the amount of time I studied, I could do even better with studying ahead of time. Just as people in unhealthy relationships realize that they could do better. All I had to do was break up with procrastination, but unfortunately I constantly go back to it.
One day I want to get the courage to end this unhealthy relationship. I also want to accept the sad reality that pixie dust will never come to my rescue.