About to miss your supo essay deadline? Here’s seven fool-proof ways to buy yourself more time

Some tips for when “sorry, I forgot” doesn’t quite cut it.

It’s a common occurrence. 11:55pm on the evening of a midnight deadline, and the all-important word-count on the bottom left on your laptop screen remains well, well let’s just say it’s below the required 2000. It’s week 8 after all, and your levels of academic rigour just aren’t quite as strong as Toope continues to expect from you. However, minutes away from tragedy (or at least a slightly frustrated email from your supervisor asking why your essay is late, again) you are no longer afraid.

The reason? You’ve read through this article, and are armed with a plethora* of ways to outwit any Cambridge academic and clinch that extension. You’re welcome. So, without waffling any more (you can save that for when you eventually get round to the essay), it’s time to buy yourself some time.

*Yes, I spend my time looking up fancy synonyms for words in my Tab article rather than writing my tripos essays, sue me.

The corrupted file

Simple and effective, this is perhaps the perfect way to buy yourself a few more precious hours, provided your supervisor doesn’t see straight through your plan. Using this method, upload a blank word document onto corrupt-a-file.net (other sites are available) and email it to your supervisor.

They’ll open it and, to their confusion, the file will appear to be corrupted, preventing them from seeing the da Vinci-esque work of art that is your (entirely unfinished) essay. Once they question this a few hours later, apologise and email back a new file, with your now completed essay.

Image credit: Author’s screenshot from corrupt-a-file.net

The temporary illness

OK, so last night got a bit rough. You wake up with your head thumping, and making that 10am deadline is looking about as realistic as last night’s claim that “I’ve got an essay to finish tomorrow so I’ll just have a couple of drinks then get an early night”.

In this situation, you’re forced to save yourself with an old classic – email your supervisor and say you have suddenly come down ill, perhaps with food poisoning, but you hope to feel better later in the day to get the essay done. Bonus points if you can get your flatmate to type that one for you whilst you lie in bed trying to stop the world from spinning so fast.

The disappearing act

Going AWOL on your supervisors is certainly a bold choice, but it’s a guaranteed way to buy yourself as much time as you need (the consequences of this choice are a problem for future you). If you switch off your phone and pretend the problem doesn’t exist, then it goes away, right? Maybe not, but it’s worth a try.

Image credit: Author’s own

The suck-up

The effectiveness of this excuse is largely based on who your supervisor is – if they have a Wikipedia page, then you’re in. Claim that you couldn’t get your essay in on time because you became so engrossed in reading their latest book/journal article/thesis that you lost track of time, and assure them that you’ll have your essay done shortly.

Ask them enough questions about their work and you’ll buy yourself more than enough time to finish your essay.

The committed excuse (with evidence)

It’s at this point in the article that the level of desperation goes up a notch. To pull off an excuse like “sorry, my laptop broke before I could send my essay” you need some good proof. But you also need to make sure it really is worth it.

So, before you pour coffee directly onto your keyboard ready to snap a picture to send to your supervisor, you need to do a cost-benefit analysis that an econ student would be proud of. If it’s still worth it after that consideration then first of all, god help you, and second of all, pour away.

Image credit: Author’s own

The excuse so unbelievable they have to believe it

Not for the faint-hearted, going down this road requires an audacity only seen in a seasoned essay-extender. You’ve made your way through the old classics over the course of the last two terms, and it’s time for the excuses to get rogue. I’m talking “my dog ate my homework” levels.

An excuse like “sorry, I had to rescue and look after my friend who accidentally fell in the Cam” seems utterly farcical, and yet you are an honest, hardworking Cambridge student, so why would you lie just to get out of an essay? The ball is in your supervisor’s court.

Image credit: Author’s own

The actually getting it done method (???)

Surely not? With over a thousand words and just ten minutes to write them in, this must be the most implausible of all the ideas? Perhaps, but you might as well shoot for the moon, because if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars (or at least avoid incurring the wrath of your fuming supervisor, because a half-finished essay has to be better than a blank one).

To speed write an essay you need two things: a solid music choice, and an overdose of caffeine. Once you’re jittery enough that you feel like you’re moving at 2x speed, put on that Mario Kart music from that TikTok and you’re good to go. Productivity = achieved.

From the believable to the ridiculous, hopefully one of these ideas will help you survive your next essay crisis. If in doubt, a coffee-covered keyboard is just a pour away.

Featured image credit: Author’s own, screenshot from corrupt-a-file.com

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