Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

Well, it’s that time of year again. I want to pull my hair out and mash my face into a wall until it resembles little more than poorly-prepared hamburger.

Yes, folks, it’s the week before finals week, or what we here at CSC have dubbed HELLWEEK.

Andreas Levers Photo CC-by Andreas Levers, cue AC/DC track here

Blood from a Stone

I’ve learned a lot of things about myself during the duration of my independent learning project this year: namely, I’m shitty at self-motivation. Terrible. Awful. Etcetera, etcetera. I had an open field to walk through, my own path to choose, I could choose literally anything that I wanted, and I still couldn’t motivate my damn self to get the job done. I’m not proud of myself, especially with Ms. Fish absolutely schooling every challenge I’ve thrown her way and making leaps and bounds in her own project.

Why was this so difficult for me? I suppose I could have chosen “wrong.” I can only wonder how it would have went differently depending on what else I had chosen. Some have hypothesized that the reasoning for my terrible time-management and procrastination issues has been that, at the end of the day, regardless of the freedom been given to me, the independent project was still a project. Still an assignment. Desperately as I’ve tried to stave off “senioritis” and continue waking up each day with gusto and a “go-get-’em” attitude, I haven’t. I have what I deem the “fuckits” really bad. Every assignment coming my way right now isn’t, to me, a learning opportunity. It’s a hoop to jump through. I’ve done this continuously for nearly 16 years. I know the in’s and out’s, and I’m fed up. Suggestions for grad schools are pouring in like water from every angle, and my answer (at least for the time being) is a resounding go to hell.

Peter P Photo CC by Peter P


You’d think that with the aforementioned “senioritis” I’d be excited for the next chapter in my life. I’m not. I’m as bitter and cynical as ever. I’m about to graduate after 4 years of hard work, get a piece of paper legitimizing said hard work, and… what? Then what? I work the same minimum wage job I would have without that piece of paper? I have some fancy titles to put on a resume for an entry-level position in a job where I’ll be expected to eat shit consistently for years until I progress into something even remotely worth my time and effort? I pay back the federal government for helping me pay for an education that largely consisted of re-hashed high school courses? Some people get nervous pre-graduation. I’ve become lethargic. Dangerously so. My band isn’t playing, stories aren’t selling, and I’m in a pretty bad state of mind if you couldn’t tell from the bulk of this post.

The best, and worst parts of my independent learning project have come from my lovely teacher, Ms. Fish. I say best because I get to see the exuberance and passion she feels for the subject. I get to hear tails of shenanigans in China, dreams of going back, and the interesting change in perspective another culture provides. I say worst, because I have by no means made it worth her time. I haven’t dedicated the energy, shared the passion, or made the improvements I should have with such a capable teacher. She wouldn’t ever say so, she probably wouldn’t even think so, but I’ve let her down. Here I sit with a broken understanding of a language, due 100% to my own shortcomings. For these things, I’m sorry.

The longer I wallow in this pool of doubt and cynicism, the more I realize that these are things under my control. I can choose how to react to poor book sales and gigs un-booked. I can choose how to respond to impeding deadlines and being a first-gen graduate in my family. I’ve chosen poorly.

How do I make up for these things? How do I pull myself up out of this? This isn’t how I usually am. That much I know is certain. I suppose this is the proper time for an abstract image with some inspirational text on top.


Much better.



No excuses, no bullshit, no way out:

I’ve been slacking in my Independent Learning Project.

Joe Athialy Photo CC-by Joe Athialy, and how I feel right now

Why is that? I feel like a fool for admitting this at all. Why is it so difficult for me to commit time to something I wanted to do? I’ve not just been slacking in my ILP, but even in my own writing. I don’t think I have senioritis, it’s way too early for that.

I think I need to ask one T.Hust to be more stern with me about my assignments / due dates or something. I can make excuses all day, but I just haven’t put the effort in that others have been. That’s not fair to her, and that’s not fair to everybody else. I chose this – so I should be stoked and rearin’ to go every day, right?

The fact is, when I get through with my classes, my (immediate) homework for those classes, practicing for my guitar lessons, straightening up the house, and just general random responsibilities, the first thing I think isn’t “I wanna do my Chinese homework!” It’s usually something more along the lines of “Hey, darlin’, let’s sit and play video games for 3 hours.” Or “hey everybody, let’s stay up until 2 playing D&D and have tomorrow morning really suck!”

It just isn’t super high on what my brain has dictated is my list of priorities. I vastly enjoy sitting and doing nothing (see: vidjea games and reading). It’s how I cool down. I’m up and about a great majority of the time, and when the dust settles, I also intend to settle.

Did I just not choose the right project? Am I the only one feeling this way? Have others in the class before me had the same experiences? Maybe I do have senioritis. Mid-term is here. What follows is the last 8 weeks of my college / schooling career in the foreseeable future. Maybe there are things pressing heavier on my mind than the terrible way I pronounce tones 2 and 4 when trying to read pinyin.

The thing is, I’m not trying to complain, I’m not looking for pity, and I’m not completely trying to justify my absence of results. I’m mostly speculating. Why is this so difficult for me?

To my teacher (one T.Hust): I apologize. I’ve been a terrible student, and you have shown infinitely more prowess as a disciple than I could hope to at this moment.

To myself: quit your bitching and get in gear. Limping to the finish line guarantees weak-ass results.


Disclaimer: I’m aware it’s “tone deaf.” It’s a pun, okay? 

Confession time:

I’ve spent two weeks on the same 17 vocab words. When I’m looking at them, I get all scatterbrained. Do I learn pronunciation first? Translation? How to draw the characters? Where do I start? I’m trying to learn another language like I study for a test, and while that’s functional for learning what the words mean in English, it does me little good in pronunciation or application of them. And what about grammar, for that matter?


jonathan kos-read Photo CC-by Jonathan Kos-Read, also, I have no idea what this says

Focus is Key

My biggest problem with this learning project so far is that I’ve been trying to spread myself too thin, bouncing around between things I need to learn. I don’t remember learning English, it’s just something that comes naturally. My teacher has done some lessons in this language before, but it’s been while. I find myself asking more questions than I can answer at once – I’m already constructing basic sentences out of words I’ve picked up and my very (very very) loose grasp on the grammar, but I’m trying to do long division before I even know how to add.

That, and I’m busy, man. Seriously. I know this project is something we chose, I know it’s something I want to dedicate time to, but when my options are “do my Chinese homework” and “start this take-home test due Tuesday, then practice for my lesson on Thursday so it’s not a total shitshow” my priorities re-arrange themselves a bit.

I guess that’s something else I’m learning besides Chinese: how to juggle responsibilities. I’m a bit jealous, really – I give my student a writing prompt and the first draft is finished that same day. I highlight it, give my criticisms, and the edited “final” version is done that same day. And I’ve yet to memorize my first 17 vocab words. Damn.

Theen Moy Photo CC-by Theen Moy, and I can’t read this either.

At the end of the day, I don’t have excuses. I need to carve out time for this. When I sit down to do it, I’m always fascinated. I’m never bored. There’s an immense hurdle for me to jump, and I don’t back from a challenge. The trouble is, there are too many directions for me to go. Because I’m an egotist and a bit of an attention whore, it does my heart good to see my pupil excited about writing and eager to continue learning new things.

I wonder if she’ll let me borrow some of her enthusiasm. This is my last semester for my Bachelor’s Degree, and it’s beginning to feel like it.