Lauren Chaplin – a pro Crastinator
She may be failing her degree, but at least LAUREN CHAPLIN is getting a First in procrastination
No one’s written about procrastination for at least a month now, so I guess my column this week could be about that.
Inevitably, it’s going to have to be about that, because I’ve yet again left it to the last minute. Oh the irony.
Before Cambridge I thought I was pretty good at procrastination. I managed to fit in at least two hours of E! News before beginning homework, and made my way through the entire first season of Revenge three days before A Level exams started. Work was a breeze, and lunchtime visits to Topshop always took priority over an essay crisis.
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No, not this E! News
Or at least, they would have taken priority, had I ever experienced an essay crisis. The thing with school is you don’t actually have that much work. You think you do, of course. Your nightmares still ring with the shrill voice of your head of year, a small weaselly woman with a penchant for pastels, announcing that you’ll be doing at least ten hours of work per subject per week outside lesson time. Realistically, nothing has been that exaggerated since Kim Jong-Il claimed to score 11 holes in one.
Cue university though, and the stakes rise. You can’t spend hours upon hours watching television. The guilt is too much. Inventiveness takes on a new importance. You need to feel as though you’re truly doing something important, although as we’ll soon discover, ‘important’ is a flexible term.
I have certain friends (Grace) who like to try on their ball gowns in times of (essay) crisis. Personally I opt for the self Frape, an almost masturbatory gesture of apparent social nonchalance. Think it only takes an instant to change your profile picture? Wrong! Check out http://www.befunky.com/ for hours of innocent fun. It’s not even really procrastination, because a sassy profile picture will earn you the respect of your peers, thus increasing your personal, and by extension ACADEMIC confidence. Bloody fool proof if you ask me.
Wikipedia too is an invaluable route into hours of wasted/well spent time (delete as appropriate). Did you know that “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is a grammatically correct sentence? Or that Cheddar is made at 39 degrees Celsius? Knowledge is power, folks. This information may seem useless in comparison to learning Kepler’s theorems or reading Wuthering Heights, but usefulness is relative. Realistically, how is Emily Bronte going to help if you get kidnapped by a clan of angry dairy farmers with a passion for linguistics?
Braiding all your hair with shells a la Monica, alphabetising your reading lists, choreographing a Destiny’s Child dance routine; all seemingly innocuous tasks to whittle away your time. Get creative: start a revolution, chart the stars, knit a muff.
It’s time to the the ‘pro’ back in procrastination. After all, if it really is the thief of time, puzzle me this – why does it start with the same letter as Perfect? Just something to think about.