Procrastination: I’ve been at it for about 3 days now. This is what I should be doing:
NO! Not tidying my room up!! Who are you? My mother? How very dare you. No, next Tuesday I have an exam in a capstone course and a final research essay due. I should be revising, researching and writing about English, but instead…….
I’ve been doing This:
I look at ‘Freshly Pressed’ every day for any new, funny, interesting or just downright ‘delicious to look at’ blogs, and the other night I found ecritlamour The very next day I came down to my study, flicked through Paradise Lost, and then moved straight on to re organising six and a half years worth of letters that have been sent from the UK since I emigrated.
I have a lot of letters, and they are not particularly well organised in two shoe boxes, so an urgent intervention was entirely justified. I’m currently in the process of upcyling my modcloth delivery boxes with stamps that I’m cutting off all my envelopes, and going all creative to, fashion some ingenious fastenings, (does that sound home-maker-ish-appropriate enough?). I was a late bloomer when it comes to scrapbooking but one of the added perks has been the amount of craft materials I now have at my disposal for other projects.
I save every little trinket, broken item of cosmetic jewellery and those stupid and annoying hanging loops you get in your new clothes, which you never use to actually hang your clothes up, but just invite unnecessary comments from strangers at parties when they slip out through your sleeves. I’m like an overgrown Magpie, if it’s shiny and pretty I want it, and I’ll find some way of re using it.
I’m ditching all the tatty envelopes and bundling up my letters with ribbons instead.
Some may say this is a total and utter waste of time; I blow a raspberry at them. Yes, I should be concentrating on my degree but I’ve had a full-on semester already this year and really need some time out just to faff….even if that happens to be in the middle of the busiest part of Semester 1. You see, I had to drop a course last year when I was training for the marathon, because I’m a Nanna, and there is only so many hours in the day I can stay awake, and to catch up on that unit this year (because summer semester offerings were pretty lean for 2011 in the Arts Faculty), I’ve been trying to do five courses which has meant a whole lot of reading:
I do love books, I mean really, really love books but there has to be a simpler way of filling your Ikea Billy Book Shelves than doing an English degree.
There is actually one book missing from this stack which was still on order at the time. I have had to wade through 32 text books since February. The Sorrows of Young Werther was the smallest book, so he’s sitting at the top because of my inexpressible gratitude to him and so I can look him in the eye and tell him to pull himself together and stop moping around. I also love bookshops like the gorgeous one featured in this week’s blog from beradadisini but I caved in and got a Kindle Touch for Christmas. It does break my heart a little bit to see just how many of the classics are free to download, but hey, if it gets more people reading Dickens then I can’t complain.
So far the Kindle has been great for non-uni stuff, not so great for actual uni. It’s not the easiest way of flicking through several pages during tutorial discussions even if it does give you a teeny bit of techno cred amongst the younger students – well maybe not, maybe Kindle sales are plummeting right now because word is out that Nanna’s are using them. The other thing worth pointing out to student folks is that not all of your additional pdf reading loads in a viewable format on the screen; some come through ok and you can increase the font size, others will leave you leering into your e-reader like Little Red Riding Hood’s bestial Grandmother. Plus, you can only download your pdf’s via a convoluted ‘convert’ attachment by e-mail, and not straight from your PC. I will never ever stop buying actual books but I have to admit that the virtual kind is very handy when travelling; you take a few with you, get bored of any, just down load one of the 28,000 free ones.
Reading for pleasure though is very different to reading for a degree, or ‘actively reading’ as the academics call it. Making copious notes, observing narration, gender issues, historical context etc takes a little bit away from the immersion you want when you’re so involved in a good book that you can’t (and really don’t want to) put it down, and have to go get a sticky tab and a notebook and pen. I know what the students are thinking right now, why don’t you just highlight/underline? I can’t. I just cannot bring myself to mark a book like that, even in pencil. My mother (author of about 70% of those letters) would kill me.
To get through my 32 books I estimated how long it takes me to read a hundred pages, added up my pages and multiplied by how many weeks head start I had before the semester began, plus how many weeks there were in the semester. My calculations revealed that I just didn’t have enough time – and also that whilst I was procrastinating with my formulas I could have already read the aforementioned Werther.
So, by the end of today I may have one “letter box” finished — and no revision done. I have been on UQ’s website a couple of times in between; not to search the on-line library for critics to include in my essay, but to try and catch the live web stream of Venus passing over the sun. I’m taking my procrastination to a once in a lifetime, astrological level.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I have the attention span of a gnat, which is probably significantly less than a goldfish, and if there was a grade for procrastinating, I’d be top of the class right now.