Anna Dougherty, East senior, is a procrastination offender.
Currently she is taking U.S. History, a class notorious for its Chronicle Project. This project requires students to create a book or binder detailing 20 major events of their lives. It also must include images, an introduction, and a conclusion. It is very hard to pass the class without completing the project.
The project is so big, in fact, that it comes with its own warning: “PLAN AHEAD!! The Surgeon General has warned that putting this project off until the last minute can be harmful to your health.”
Though she is a wise upperclassman, Dougherty failed to listen to this caution.
“I started [my Chronicle] around 10:30, 11, the night before,” Dougherty said about the Oct. 23 due date. “I had actually bought all my supplies that day… I had my scrapbook and everything still in the wrapping.”
Dougherty attributes her busy work schedule and underestimation of the size of the project as the reasons for starting her Chronicle so late.
“I had thought that it would be easy. I was thinking, ‘Putting a scrapbook together? That’s super easy, you just use some glue and some scissors and you can get this done,” she said.
She soon learned that this was not the case. Arriving home late, Dougherty started typing all 20 paragraphs around 11 p.m. She finished typing her paragraphs by 2 a.m. and was ready to start printing them. Things were going very smoothly up until that point.
However, another curious side effect of procrastination is that technology often does not cooperate when you need it most.
“I went to go [print] my papers, and the printer was literally shaking and making weird crinkling noises… I had no idea what was going on. I literally thought it was going to explode,” she said.
So Dougherty did what she had to do in order to fix the printer: she woke up her dad.
“He was real mad. But he tried to fix it, for like 45 minutes. It was almost 4 o’clock [at this point], and I hadn’t started gluing yet, I had nothing printed, and I had to be in school in three hours,” said Dougherty, who by then was very panicked.
Dougherty then accepted that the printer would refuse to cooperate and she would have to turn the project in late. She finished the project over the weekend, as the Chronicle was due on a Friday.
“I was so embarrassed that everyone was going to have it done, and everyone else would, because we had had so much time to work on it,” she said. “It’s not like me. I’m usually the one to hand everything in on time, and I’m generally a good student.”
Dougherty acquired some valuable wisdom about putting things off. She recommends that others not make the same mistake, and heed the Surgeon General’s Warning.
“Not only was I not getting any sleep that night, but I had to go to school for eight hours and then work for another 7 ½ hours, so I was so tired. It was not good. Don’t do it,” she said.
The silver lining for her experience: Dougherty’s project received an “A.”
(Photographs courtesy of Anna Dougherty.)
Procrastination Horror Story is a new column, since everybody has an awful tale of procrastination. All high schoolers are aware of the symptoms of procrastination, like sleep deprivation and emotional instability, yet many continue to put off that paper until the night before. In particular, projects and papers that span over the course of several weeks seem to invite students to procrastinate.