Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I'm going to post my lovely homework assignment for Government. Y'see, Mrs. B is so very lax in her grading that she has given the class a marvelous opportunity: write an essay on Procrastination, which covers all the questions she wants, and raise your grade! In most cases, it only helps a little, but in mine it can raise the grade from a C+ to an A- - so obviously, I did it. True to Heidi's demand, it was a "three minute" essay, meaning I completed it in half an hour. I'm posting the first half here, and the second half in my next entry, because for some reason they have that nasty word count.
P.S. Apparently, this is a very flippant essay. Those are my mom's exact words.
Procrastination – Dearest Ally and Worst Enemy
It’s two in the morning, and by all rights I ought to be in bed. I’m yawning, with eyelids heavy as the pressure to finish this assignment. Writing this essay will make or break my grade. A or C, pride or humiliation – it all depends on the quality of one little paper. I could’ve – should’ve – spent hours on it, carefully crafting a quality work worthy of publishing, or at least the sixty-point maximum that this essay can garner. But rather than mindfully manipulating time and thought to weave the perfect paper, I’m hastily slapping sentences together in a desperate attempt to save my G.P.A., silently cursing my best friend and greatest nemesis, procrastination.
Defined by Webster’s as “to put off intentionally and habitually; to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done,” procrastination was first used in 1588. It is derived from the Latin pro-, meaning forward, and crastinus, which meant of tomorrow. Procrastination has been used in poetry and prose by many different authors since it’s inception.
Some say they procrastinate to avoid working on something difficult, or because it’s so easy that they know it won’t take long to do. Others procrastinate because there is something else they’d rather do, like watch television or play sports. I don’t know why I do. A word in the definition keeps popping back into my mind: habitually. A habit is just a routine performed every day, whether good or bad. Often it’s so incorporated into one’s schedule that they aren’t aware they do it until it’s pointed out. I procrastinate by habit. I haven’t anything else to do, and the work usually isn’t easy or hard, just there. But in my day, procrastination is as essential as brushing my teeth or showering. It simply needs to be done.
This is not a good habit, eh? Besides creating an obvious deficiency in homework, it also affects my chores, my time management, web site updates, and creative writing. Procrastination is a nasty, terrible net that has caught me up and kept me from working to my full potential. Yet I like it. It’s comfortable, this net, and roomy enough that I can move about if I don’t stretch myself too far. Procrastination is an excuse as well, one that is plausible and looks good to others unless closely scrutinized. “I’ll do it later,” I’ll say, pointing to a pile of homework papers that have collected next to my desk. The listener (usually my mother) will nod and leave, content with the response, failing to note that the pile has never decreased but is in fact growing in stature, towering over me like the Empire State Building. Nevertheless, why do homework when I can procrastinate?
Why do homework, indeed? I’ve always thought that homework was to help you learn what you do not know. So, if you already know the material, why do the homework? When you ask a teacher this, the usual response is “Oh, if it’s so easy just do it quickly and get it over with!” But that doesn’t answer my initial question: Why? What’s the point? They say procrastinating is a waste of time, but isn’t redundant work a waste as well? In the time spent reviewing vocabulary like ‘nation’ or ‘Senate’ or answering questions about our government’s structure, I could be finishing the next panel of my webcomic or writing that great American novel. Not to be disrespectful, but this isn’t the first time we’ve been taught this material. If people weren’t paying attention in fifth or eighth grade, than they can sit around and try to learn it again, but what about those of us who did? Why do we have to squander our time on a subject we already know? (Again, sorry I’m being rude – but I get so irked about this sometimes.) We’ve not taken Economics yet, so we should spend a whole year on that instead of splitting it with American Government. After all, in fifth grade we are taught the basic structure and in eighth grade our knowledge is fleshed out. So why take this class again? Why waste time filling out homework? If the knowledge is in our heads, why write it out?