For this particular post, visualize yourself as a student at Oberlin College who has an essay due in three weeks. Are you ready for this journey? Wonderful. You'll play the role of the student, and I'll play a voice in your head that should be all too familiar to you. Now, let's begin this story, shall we?
*It's Wednesday, and you just received your essay prompt and rubric.*
I see that you're here in class. Ahhhh, so your professor just handed you the rubric. Uggh, and here you go, reading the rubric and all the boring specifics that come with it. Blah, blah, blah. Stop reading it; you're creating unwanted stress by even looking at the thing. Throw it in your binder or something. Sheesh, you already know what you have to do. Just give it a nice glance and put it away. You have three weeks, three whole weeks! That's crazy! That's plenty of time to chill, too. I know you always hear people say, "Start your work early," but who really does that? You know you don't have to be extra, especially with this essay. Besides, you do have work in other classes as well. Those keep you occupied enough throughout the week. Just don't worry about the essay this week. I promise you there will be time for that later. Woah, wait a second. Weren't you going to that party down in South campus in a couple days? Ooh, and that music artist you like is performing at the 'Sco the day after that! Yeah, you're definitely going to have to chill out before you start on that essay. College is stressful enough as it is; you don't need additional stress. Enjoy yourself this week!
*ONE WEEK LATER... (Go ahead and read it with the SpongeBob voice... You know you want to!)*
Wow, last week was great, right? All that partying and being Iit took a toll on you, though. I think it may have been a little bit too lit for you. Plus, you worked hard last week, so relax! Here you go again, looking at that stupid essay prompt. Stop worrying about it. Put the prompt back in your binder or something. I see that the essay is due in two weeks, but honestly, that's still really far away. That's fourteen days to write twenty-five hundred words. You have time. Chill out. Take a nap or something. Everything has to be "school, school, school" with you. Just sit back. Actually, don't sit back and relax. Then, you will get bored and want to start working on the essay, and that might be too much for your brain to handle right now. You know what? Go hang out with some friends. Give one of them a call and see what they are up to. There is no need to feel more anxious about this essay.
*ONE WEEK LATER...*
Okay, so the essay is due in a week. I know you really want to start on this thing, but think about it for a second. What about all the times you have waited until the day before to finish essays? They have turned out fine for the most part, right? Besides, don't you have other assignments due? This essay is like a huge shadow looming over everything else you have going on. That shadow isn't a good feeling, so why would you even approach it? Do not let it stress you out even more. Just hold off on it for a little bit longer. It's not like you're going to to fail your essay because you waited just a little longer. You have so much time to plan the essay, make the first draft, revise, edit, and all of that good stuff. Listen to me. Trust me on this on one.
*THE NIGHT BEFORE THE ESSAY IS DUE...*
LOL. Oh, wow. You are in some trouble. Yikes. Honestly, the only thing I can give you at this point is hindsight. Perhaps I could have advised you to listen to the other voice in your head that told you to start the essay early. I just wanted to make life easier for you. Turns out, I did the opposite. Now your essay is due in less than twenty-four hours. On the bright side, you got enough rest last week and the week before that, right? Right? Now I know you are upset with me, and that is completely understandable. Let me make it up to you with this idea. Class starts in the middle of the day, and I know you are tired. Hear me out on this one. What if you got some sleep for tonight? You could sleep well and wake up energized. You can write twenty-five hundred words in a few hours, right? That is no problem for you. I believe in you; now get some rest, you genius.
*THE MORNING BEFORE THE ESSAY IS DUE...*
I have nothing more for you. You are basically on your own now. Sorry about that! Hey, at least you rested well! Now, you have energy to work off of as you write the essay. That's a great thing, right? No? Okay. Well, if you ever want me to come around, just let me know. As a matter of fact, you could get a little more sleep right now! What do you think about that? Nah? Alright, calm down. I was just trying to help. Oh, you don't have time to make a rough draft first? What? That is crazy! Wait, but if you don't have a rough draft, you won't be able to revise and edit, right? Ohhhhhhh... I am so sorry. Judging by how much you have to write, you may have to run to the library in order to get this essay printed on time. Your professor probably won't give you an A on this one. If I'm going to be completely honest, I don't even think you are getting a B either. Maybe you should not have listened to me. Hey, don't get too mad at me, though. This will be a fun story to tell in the future! I will see you again very soon, my friend.
If you figured out what the "voice" represented, kudos to you. Otherwise, I'll give the secret away. The voice represents procrastination. Every college student in the world has heard this voice before. Procrastination sucks, and it can put you in some tough spots in life. The challenge is to overcome it. I believe you can do it; you just have to recognize that voice in your head and RESIST it.