There are two types of mood on a university campus: firstly, there’s the panic mood of hurry and nervousness of getting assignments completed, or at least panic over the assignments that should be being completed. This tends to be the dominant mood, usually lasting for 90% of the term. Secondly, and arguably the worse of the two for anyone besides the uber confidents, there’s the mood of anticipation as results are released.
Last week the second of these spread over the campus like sudden darkness on a summers day; noise levels were noticeably lower and facial expressions amongst students were usually at either end of the scale of extremes, being either uncontrollable glee or genuine horror.
My results however, weren’t only going to tell me how well or badly I’d done, but also uncover my ability to write overnight essays. In January I wrote a blog post, ‘The Perils of Overnight Essay Writing’, which described how I’d had to rewrite the longest essay I’ve ever been assigned in 48 hours. Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much in the results department, and had convinced myself the assignment was a near-failure in a karma-like way for my previous disapproval of anyone who leaves their assignments that late out of choice.
I’m pleased to say I was proved wrong in my assumptions of failure, and was rewarded for my solid two-day state of panic and fear with a quite-alright 68 (this being after I closed the university portal twice, refreshed the page and visited the department to clarify this mark in permanent ink). I’d done it; I actually recovered what I thought to be a surely flopped essay and brought it back to life in two long nights with only sleep and hope being the price I had to pay.
So what does this say about approaches to essay writing? My earlier blog post on the topic told of how I usually aim to spend 6 weeks on an essay, but now I’ve been shown it’s achievable in a much shorter space of time, how does this fit in with my usual essay-writing routine?
Firstly I have to acknowledge that I haven’t actually received a better mark than usual for this essay, but one of around the same figure or just below. I still maintain research is a time consuming activity, and numerous weeks should be dedicated to it, but as for the writing itself, perhaps cramming is the way to go.
I’m not about to abandon all of this semester’s essays until the day prior to deadline, but what if I gave myself a false deadline, say, two weeks earlier than the actual deadline? I could write the essay in a hurry with maximum effort, but still know that if I need it, the extra time is there.
Would I actually be able to convince myself though, or would my fake deadlines be hard to work towards when I know they are just that? Either way, I’ll either ignore them and hopefully get my work done at a normal and more relaxed pace for the actual deadline. Or perhaps I’ll miraculously believe my self-inflicted lies and see an extra couple of week’s post-essay relaxation time. I know which one sounds more appealing; it’s time to hit the bookshelves.