An open letter to studious Wash. U. students from a procrastinator

| Staff Writer

Dear students of Wash. U.,

Does it feel like the finals are finally here? The finals that every teacher in every class would talk about as though they were light years away. The finals that are now barely a week away. Some of you, like my roommate, may wish that reading week were meant for reading all your favorite books. Some of you, like me, may be making plans for attending Pirate Parties at Bear’s Den when you should actually be re-watching all those GenChem lectures. Some of you, however, may have realized that it was high time to start studying (I know, better late than never). But to those of you who have taken it upon yourselves to show the world how studious and focused you can get—you seriously need to consider how much you intimidate the procrastinators like me who enter denial and procrastinate even more. Let me tell you why.

Last Tuesday we had a GenChem exam. While I had studied to whatever extent I could, I still thought it would be a good idea to study in Olin Library. Only, I couldn’t, because the first floor was unbelievably packed. People were cramming equations, loudly discussing problems, arguing about answers. It was a tense atmosphere. The tension exploded all around when an extremely stressed student lashed out at his friend, “WHY CAN’T I GET ANYTHING RIGHT? I’M SO FAILING THIS EXAM!!” and people around took to Yik Yak instead of comforting the poor soul. The decibel levels there shattered the usually peaceful study vibes.

I retreated to the ground floor, but was shooed away with scorns and glares—I guess I flipped the notebook pages too loudly. Still, I dragged myself to the second floor. Usually the second floor is the place where people nap on couches, binge-watch TV shows and eat their way through giant cookie packs. But that day, EVERYONE was working. I lost my calm. People needed to stop studying so hard and making me feel like I was underprepared.

Anyway, right after the exam, people stormed into the closest dining locations they could find. They made a beeline for Subway, Whispers, Bear’s Den, any place with food—I’m positive they even raided the vending machines. I get why so many people were wolfing down chocolates and cookies and chips before the exam, but I do not get why they emptied the Paws & Go ice-creams, F’real and frozen yogurt after the exams. Okay, maybe I do. They needed to celebrate. Celebration was better than studying.

Unfortunately, the celebrations didn’t last long. This weekend, I was working in Olin after 7 p.m. Everyone was still like a statue, immersed in books or laptops. Their intent focus simply did not rub off on me and instead of studying, I watched an episode of a Spanish telenovela. Realizing that I had already lost out on study time, I decided to go all out and ditch my study plans. I could never be like these people around me. I watched eight more episodes, until someone walked in from Whispers Cafe with a large cup of coffee (probably the “all-nighter” special) and looked at me as though I didn’t belong to the studious ambience. It was 3 a.m. Even the “calc guys” who are always there solving problems, always willing to walk you back at the most unearthly hours of the night, were engrossed in their equations and refused to budge.

I sit in Bear’s Den right now and write this article, because I cannot bring myself to write that 10-page biology paper (well, at least this is productive procrastination). People turn around to see who’s typing so furiously. They stare at me because they do not like me tippity-tapping away and disturbing their concentration. For the first time ever, the number of people working at Bear’s Den is greater than the number of people eating or socializing. I’m one of those few odd people who dare to munch loudly and obnoxiously at this hour when everyone else is wrapped up in work. I fervently hope the celebration wave hits soon, for the most social place on the South 40 is beginning to get QUIET. Unless these finals end, it may end up becoming even quieter than the once-deserted-now-full residential college libraries.

I hope you see why this makes me want to procrastinate more. I can’t even look at my work because I know I can never be as studious or efficient as these people. Besides, there’s got to be someone to maintain the balance, right?


A very intimidated procrastinator

P.S. At least spare the Mudd Field and grass outside Olin. I can’t bear to see the once-happy, Frisbee-playing students transform into outdoor study nerds. Please don’t remind me of work every time I pass by the green grass.

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