Sunday, November 18, 2012

A better day tomorrow

I don't know what happened in the last 12 hours. I believe that by 1:30 PM I'd woken up from a deep sleep and convinced myself I was going to get to work immediately. But did I?

I don't think so. In fact, it wasn't until hours later that I actually devoted myself to the task at hand. Which was to write a paper that is due tomorrow at 12 noon.

This is the second time I've done this while studying abroad. One term in England and I've already shown myself to possess worse work ethic than the last 14 years of schooling ever could drag out of me.

The thing is, I've always been really good about getting work done early and having it in fine order by the time it's due. That's never been an issue for me because I love having things done by an earlier deadline than actually exists. It's the same principle that has me arriving at the airport two hours earlier than my flights' departure times, the reason I'm rarely late to gatherings with friends and I have to consciously keep myself from leaving for class 30 minutes ahead of time.

Something strange has happened here, however. Unlike my usual occupations in school which consist of a few essays, tests, response papers here or there, by the time I am done with this one session abroad I will have completed eight - count them, EIGHT - research papers. In 10 weeks.

By that calculation, I should've started my research papers the second week of school. Unfortunately I hadn't learned much of anything at that point so that is unfeasible. Recalibrating for a second. That would mean I have to complete one ore more essays per week starting mid-way through the term.

Still, a crazy notion if I've ever seen one.

But it's been my fate for the past few weeks, and why I've had to scramble to finish four papers prior to a trip to Europe, then after the trip to Europe and now before I leave again for the Disneyland Paris Resort.

In a way, it makes me envy the me from another universe who is still at my home institution writing occasional short response papers throughout the quarter. The kind that don't require you to go searching through the stacks in the library for 10 sources for each essay.

I know I've complained about this before, and I don't like to harp on the same issues constantly (might as well spread the wealth as there are so many things in this world that are worth complaining about - just ask Larry David), but it really does stun me to think of the statistical concerns of my term in England.

Firstly, as I've mentioned, eight essays in 10 weeks.

Secondly, an advised 10 to 12 sources per essay.

Multiply, carry the one, etc. etc. - I have to have read 80-96 sources before I'm done with my 10 week course in England.

Should I be concerned? I mean, I've just barely reached the halfway mark in The Marriage Plot and I started reading that about a week into my stay in London. It may be pleasure reading, but that also means it goes by more quickly than academic reading.

In other words, this means I have no excuse to not be reading eight books a week. Unfortunately, at this point in time, all of those books are academic books written by people with doctorates who can't even construct a sentence on the page without being as dry as an afternoon in the desert.

At this point, I have reached the halfway mark. I'm excited to only have four more essays to do. Though I only have a few more weeks, at least I'll have rationed out my responsibilities enough to not be as overwhelmed as I have been in the past few weeks, scrambling to finish four essays without the knowledge to back them up legitimately (oh, the amount of reading I've done today would astonish even accomplished literature students).

The light at the end of the tunnel throughout this experience - or at least for today - has been my set of plans for tomorrow. Topping-up my mobile phone, going on a little shopping adventure on Tottenham Court Road, maybe even rewarding myself after a hard day's work with an extra hop, skip and a jump to the local Pinkberry (in the UK, how cool!).

It took me a while to hunker down and allow myself to suffer tonight. But I did it. And tomorrow is a better day. A better day will be had tomorrow. And maybe then, finally, I'll actually have something insightful - not just annoyingly complain-y - to say.

Thanks for listening.

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