So just how busy are we really?

Eat, sleep, procrastinate, repeat…

busy Cambridge Cambridge University Cambridge week 5 Life Student Students Tab the tab tired university

Week five has been and gone. We’ve managed to plough through it and emerge relatively mentally unscathed. But if the mantra of week five is to stay alive, then week six is not give a shit.

Do you remember that promise you made to yourself at the start of term that you were going to stay on top of work? Maybe that was even your New Year’s Resolution. Five weeks have thoroughly crushed that highly misplaced optimism. The work’s piled up and so has the stress, creating a constant feeling of so much to do, so little time.

But if I may indulge in a little self-reflection, really the issue is not too much to do but too little motivation. The paralysis of ‘I just can’t be bothered’ has well and truly taken over.

Maybe you’ve reached the realisation that you’ve missed so many lectures there really is no point in going to the rest. Maybe you’ve realised that the difference between slaving away and taking it easy is just a high or low version of the same grade. Maybe you’ve realised that it’s actually not that hard to bullshit your way through a supervision without having done the work.

Whatever it is, it’s no longer Fresher’s Flu going round but the equally debilitating symptoms of ennui.

An accurate portrayal of arts students’ lecture survival rates

Something about the urgency of work has gone. I’m aware that my deadline is in two hours and logically I should be working hard and actually writing the essay. However I am also aware that if I miss the deadline the consequences are startlingly anticlimactic. Gone are the naive Fresher Michaelmas days when the thought of impending deadlines drove me into a panicked working frenzy. Now deadlines are more optimistic targets rather than the be all and end all.

The possibilities of procrastination are endless. A host of ‘bridge’ pages have colonised Facebook. And whilst the humour may be second rate, it is still inevitably more interesting than what this week’s essay is on or the supervision questions you have to do.

So long live the despairing pines for love, passive aggressive irritations and try-hard memes. I’m not condemning them- that would be hypocritical- as I know I am as guilty as the rest of us for having wasted a lot more time than any rational person would on these.

Wonder if you can guess how many are on Facebook…

The ultimate form of procrastination is sleep. No other form makes you forget all the work you’ve yet to do quite as well as losing consciousness. Having starved myself of this precious commodity last term I readily embrace it now.

Yet like for most Cantabs its hardly a balanced diet but more of binge-sleeping, sacrificing sleep to do all the work you’ve procrastinated until it absolutely has to be done and then flat out sleeping to recharge. And so deadly the cycle goes on.

So just how busy are we really? Of course Cambridge requires a lot of work. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you’ve been living in a delusional utopia or you’re a serious workaholic and for you Cambridge is easy. The feeling of being rushed off your feet all the time is partly self-imposed, if we were efficient at doing work, we could probably get it done. And maybe even do the extra-curricular stuff we ambitiously aimed for.

Work hard, sleep hard

This feeling of having so much work to do is also perpetuated by those who need to broadcast it all the time. There’s probably a correlation between the amount of complaining about work and work done. Because surely the more time you spend whining the less you spend working…? So it’s doubly unproductive because for one, it lowers your efficiency, and two, it annoys the person who has to be on the receiving end.

This is not to say we should be solidly working all the time. It’s an admittance that how busy, stressed, rushed off our feet we feel is usually of our own device. Perhaps its time we stop blaming it on the Cambridge workload and instead take responsibility for our own work ethics.

After all we’re all at Cambridge, we all have a lot of work to do. So maybe we should hate the player and stop hating the game?