Procrastination This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 10, 2012
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Do you ever have butterflies in your stomach? You know, the ones that flutter to life when you are nervous about something like homework or a test, because, well, maybe you didn't really do all the work you should have? Or are they something worse than butterflies? Like angry bees? And do you try to justify them by saying you ran out of time or just had too many other things to do? If so, I'm just like you, and procrastination almost ruined my life.

In tenth grade, I decided to take an online World History AP class since my school did not offer it, and I wanted a challenge. At first, I thought I was in heaven. There was only one due date: January 10. By then, all the assignments and tests had to be completed and submitted. Never had I experienced this freedom in a class. No teacher dictated when an assignment was due or in what order they needed to be completed: it was glorious.

Unfortunately, I promptly used my newfound freedom to not do any work. This began innocently enough. Studying for biology tests, reading for English, and practicing volleyball took up all my time. It was okay to push off the World History work, it could be done later.

The entire time, though, my conscience kept nagging me to get to work. I would dutifully sit down at the computer, poised to attack the assignment, but a short time later my resolve would crumble. The assignments overwhelmed me – they required much greater effort than regular schoolwork. No one handed out notes, no one lectured on the material. I had to read the book myself. Without the usual schedules and deadlines set by a teacher, I fell further and further behind.

My worries about the workload became a burden that I carried. By December, those worries loomed large, a huge boulder crushing the life out of me. I promised myself that I would catch up over Christmas break, that I could do the work. Delusional, right? Predictably, no homework was done. The holidays were enjoyed by goofing around and spending time with my family.

When Christmas ended and visions of fairies and sugar plums faded from my mind, I knew I was in major trouble. The days marched relentlessly on until just one week remained between me and the deadline. With only thirty percent of the class completed, my stress level soared so high that I wanted to die to end the horrible concoction of nerves, stress, tension, and worry. Desperately trying to complete assignments while praying that time would somehow slow, I began to realize that no miracle was going to happen. Was there any way to hide the abysmal F from my parents and school? When I finally concluded that it would be impossible to keep my failure a ­secret, I decided to confess.

My feet meekly shuffled upstairs where my parents were watching a movie. Huge tears poured down my face as I mustered up the courage to speak. The truth came tumbling out between sobs. After the much ­deserved lecture and rebuke, my mom sat down and helped me create a schedule. She researched the class and found that we could ask for a one-week extension, no questions asked.

For the next two weeks, I ate and breathed World History, staying up until the wee hours of the morning frantically typing answers, coloring maps, and trying to read five thousand years of history. In the end, I survived and, miraculously, earned an A. But I came away with a healthy fear of procrastination, and the realization that it can grab hold of even the most diligent people.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Superskye said...
Oct. 5, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Hello! What issue was this article printed in?
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