There are times when a student will start a paper weeks before the deadline, formulate an organized chart and have plenty of time to edit, resulting in a polished and coherent essay with minimal middle-of-the-night breakdowns. Then there are times when procrastination and an overall inability to choose homework over a Netflix marathon will arise, and you will be forced to come up with a super last-minute paper out of thin, poorly lit air. These are the stages most last-minute writers encounter when the deadline catches us off guard and we start to contemplate the pros and cons of a college dropout.
T-minus 24 hours:
You’ve got your Peet’s coffee, your notes and your laptop. You have definitely got this. Good thing you gave yourself a full day to churn out this essay, or you would have repeated the mental meltdown from the last time you pulled an all-nighter.
What is the prompt asking? You blame yourself on your inability to retain information from lecture. Why did you have to daydream about that cutie from the other side of the class and what you two would name your future children instead of taking down notes that are actually coherent?
OK, OK, you have sort of an idea of where you want to go with your paper. You deserve some sort of food reward for this.
19 hours and 30 minutes:
Never mind. What is my thesis?! What does “thesis” even mean?
The lights in your room are not up to your standards. The library will have to do.
First paragraphs are always so hard, but remember that after this, the paper will have a general concept, and ideas will be pouring in.
Oh no, you’ve just realized you wasted two hours on cute cat videos and BuzzFeed quizzes. Definitely time to get some work done.
Tumblr and Facebook were not a good idea. Neither was that latte or burrito. Who are you kidding? That burrito was delicious.
You got your first page done. Congratulations! Now only four more left.
9 hours and 50 minutes:
A nap would be good. Just a little nap back at home …
That was not a little nap, and now you’re so disappointed in yourself. You tell yourself you will become a better student and never write one of these last-minute, stress-inducing hellish papers ever again.
You have written half of the paper, and now have run out of ideas. Maybe a snack will help.
3 hours and 20 minutes:
Every little thing in your room is distracting. You’ve never stopped and noticed the exact green shade of the carpet before.
No more messing around. A part of you wonders about the possible ramifications if you fail to write this paper. You contemplate your chances of becoming a millionaire as a dropout. Steve Jobs did it, right?
You miraculously have five pages and just need a conclusion. You realize you don’t even know what you’re talking about anymore. You start to mentally take note of all you need to change in your life so that this horrible night will never be repeated because there’s no way you’re doing this last-minute thing again.
You have completely given up, and your excuse of a paper is turned in. You’re tired, hungry and haven’t been outside in a while. This is the best feeling in the world: no more deadlines looming in the back of your head and no more worries about failing … until next time. But for now, enjoy the relief because as it turns out, you have another paper due in a week.