Procrastination Makes it Happen

I feel guilt on Saturday. Although, in general, I feel guilty (must be the Catholic upbringing), I experience it even more so on Saturday. Waking up late at 8:30 instead of 6:30 and bumming around until noon, then maybe doing some school work and grading papers is starting to take its toll on me. Not because, suddenly the semester is coming to a close and I realize, “holy shit” I have a lot of crap to do, but because I realize how much more productive I could have been.

Yes, I’ve taken some Saturdays off, maybe too many, and today I’m even going to indulge in dinner and movie with some friends (oh my God I’m so excited to see “Twilight”). Here’s the thing though, by saying “taking a Saturday off” I don’t mean, sleeping until 1 and then nursing a hangover. I mean instead of grading and maybe working on some fiction, it’s only grading half of the “beautifully” written essays and not reading.

What is my problem?

After speaking to some friends about this, they too have what I’m going to call the “grad student guilt.” It comes with the following symptoms.

1) Feeling so overwhelmed, you can’t focus to do anything.

2) Telling everyone and their mother how much crap you should have done, but didn’t.

3) A feeling of disappointment in yourself.

4) Saying you’re going to the library to do work, but getting sucked into Starbucks with your laptop open, not to a word document, but Facebook.

5) A generalized feeling of “it’s time to do work.”

These are just some of the symptoms I’ve noticed in my colleagues. I think this kind of “grad student guilt” can take its form in many other ways. Like renting season 2 of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and vegetating on the couch to finish it, (why is that finishing a TV series makes us feel so accomplished?) or organizing your bookshelf, or scrubbing the bathroom clean, or pulling the stove out and cleaning behind it for the third time this month.  I’m just saying.

Do any of you know what I’m talking about? Please share.



  1. I’ve given myself a challenge this semester: in lecture on Tuesdays, my students turn in their one page essays (44 pages, give or take, of student writing) and I vow to return them, graded and heavily commented on, with a mini-lecture about overall good and bad as well as at least one example of an excellent essay–the very next day. I’ve only had one round of this (and it seems so far away, though it was only a few days ago) and it nearly killed me, but I figure that I’m going to have a marathon grading session either way, if it’s the night it was turned in or in a very lethargic self-hating procrastination binge. I’m trying to train myself.

    And I just finished The Wire this week.

    1. I don’t know if I have it in me to grade them the day they are handed in. I tell my students I like for the papers to marinate. Although, I have been horrible about handing back papers at a decent time, so I’m going to marathon grade this week and force myself to love it!

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