Oberlin Blogs

Becoming BFFs With Procrastination

January 15, 2012

Alanna Bennett ’13

Designing your own winter term project is an exciting thing. You get a kind of freedom of form and topic in these projects that traditional semesters don't often offer.

It can also be, in execution, a bit terrifying. Your regular schedule of classes and work and co-ops have come to a halt, and more than 2/3rds of your friend group have vacated campus for the harshest of the winter months. Even with a so-called "Plan" set out, it is easy to realize just how many hours there are in the day. Six out of twenty-four? That I'm required to work per day to complete my project? That's nothing!

This January I've assigned myself two half-credit assignments--one in which I make miscellaneous videos (topics to be determined), the other in which I teach myself screenwriting.

Now, I am very excited about these projects. But if there is one thing I have learned from both personal life experience and the advice of professional authors and screenwriters, it is this: procrastination is a very important skill to learn. In fact, author Maureen Johnson even says that it is absolutely necessary that, before a person can actually call themselves a professional writer, they must have accepted procrastination as their closest friend.

This is especially true when you are creating your own schedule.

Here are some of the ways in which I have found to procrastinate this winter term:

  • Designing themed meals with my remaining on-campus friends--My friend Tori and I designed a Parks and Recreation theme-meal to celebrate the return from hiatus. We filmed a cooking show around it.

  • Netflix Instant Play--Have you all seen Oberlin alum Lena Dunham's film Tiny Furniture? It's on Instant Play!!

  • Wizard Dates--Still bitter over that whole not-getting-into-Hogwarts thing, my friend Kellie (who I will be teaching the Harry Potter Exco with next semester) and I meet up every once in a while and just let our inner fanpeople geek out and make as many wizarding puns as possible.

  • The internet--Many of my friends are scattered around the world right now. Many of them are spending next semester abroad (in places like Prague, India, Ghana, Dublin, France, etc), or they're completing their winter term projects and internships off-campus. The internet is sometimes the only way to keep in touch with these people, so it's shockingly easy to spend all day on facebook or skype catching up. Factor into that equation the unlimited hours that can be spent catching up on Vlogbrothers and Charlieissocoollike videos on youtube, and the internet and I are kind of married.

  • Building blanket forts--Pillows welcome, too.

  • Spontaneous sleepovers--It snowed the other day, for the first big snow of the Oberlin season. I was already at a friend's house, so we decided that instead of making me trek to the other side of campus to go to sleep, we'd invite even more friends over and make a spontaneous sleepover of it.

  • Reading--During the actual academic semester it can be difficult at times to fit in much pleasure reading. When you're making your own schedule, however, you suddenly realize just how many books exist out there that you HAVEN'T read yet, and part of you just really wants to take on the challenge....

I hope you're all having an amazing winter! I know I am!

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