Procrastination

Procrastination: twenty-seven. Essays and dissertation: nil. I wake up every morning with the best of intentions and things always seem to end up going down the pan. For a start, I seem to have developed some kind of internet addiction that makes me spend hours upon hours scouring LiveJournal, poking at OKCupid and checking my email inbox for messages that will never exist. Even when I finally exhaust all those excuses for remaining online I still find things to do other than what I should be. I know way more than I should about human evolution, for example, and speak more Farsi than any man who has never set foot in Iran has any right to.

Meanwhile, my dissertation is still nonexistent. Target: twenty books and 12,000 words. Actual: two books and bugger all words. This is worrying, especially as I’m supposed to be in the ‘tweaking’ stages by January. Things are looking somewhat grim, especially as I hear rumours we’re supposed to be giving presentations and whatnot near the end of the semester. And I have an essay that, at the time of writing, is a week late and counting. My response has been to get stressed and bury my head in the sand as usual. I’ve cut down social activities to a bare minimum and I’ve even started dropping out of things that are relatively important, such as writers’ group meetings and society events. And yet I’m still not sure where this time I’ve bought myself is going.

I think that part of the problem may well be a fear of failure. My family have always had certain expectations that meant that good work was never praised in my childhood while failure was condemned or punished. At least while I’m making excuses for the work being nonexistent I’m not being graded and therefore not, in my mind, actually working below my personal expectations. Trying is the first step towards failure. This attitude really isn’t getting me any further towards a half decent degree and, given that I want to do postgraduate studies in the future, I really need a 2:1.

The shame of the whole thing is that I really enjoy my degree. Every time I do an essay I get fascinated by the question I’m answering and even more fascinated by the journal articles I’m reading to get that answer. I’ve learned things about the role of heroes in Germanic poetry and the etymology and politics of Gothic kingship that would blow your mind. When I have no reason to research things, I can absorb knowledge on a subject like an intellectual sponge. Right now I’m reading about chaos theory in my spare time. By rights, with the energy I can put into my studies I should be able to produce the sort of work that could change my field. But then the time disappears in a cloud of procrastination and I can’t even produce a mediocre essay for a two-bit seminar.

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~ by Scary Rob on 16 November, 2006.

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