When you are left with an essay that has to be finished by tomorrow morning, the first thing you should do is panic.
After panicking some more. And some more. And some more after that, it’s time to take a deep breath, eat a peanut butter sandwich, and realize you have this whole situation under control.
Many times when we have to write essays, we procrastinate and put off doing it as long as possible. This causes you to walk into the classroom 10 minutes late (or worse), find an empty computer lab, and immediately start writing your essay with a cold sweat dripping down your back, wondering if there is still time to make an A on the essay.
It’s okay. Breathe in, breathe out. You can do this! Here are some steps you should follow:
1) Assess the situation by looking at the due date of your assignment and how much work you’ve done already. If you’re like me and got halfway through it then spent the rest of the day talking with friends or playing video games, this is your first step.
2) Accept the fact that you are not going to finish it in time. This doesn’t mean give up! It means you have to prioritize an essay over other more fun things for today. Unfortunately, due dates exist and they can often sneak up on us quickly so you have to realize the importance of an assignment’s deadline.
3) Plan how much work you can reasonably do tonight and how long it will take you to accomplish those tasks. It helps if someone else sits down with you and helps create a schedule that doubles as a way for them to make sure there is no possible way (or at least very little) time for procrastination later on tonight. Cheers!
4) After you’ve completed your work and feel like you can take a quick break (or two) to reward yourself, allow yourself to recharge. No one can be completely productive every second of the day so any time away from work will not only refresh you but also prevent burnout.
5) Leave it alone for at least 30 minutes before returning to fix any mistakes or formatting errors. This isn’t saying to never return and check an essay after it’s been written, just don’t do it immediately after completing the paper because it’s too easy to get distracted by other things that could seem more important than making sure your intro paragraph didn’t format weird.
6) Proofread and edit! Read through the whole thing again and correct typos/formatting errors. Do your best to make it look professional and be proud of yourself for completing the assignment!
You did it! You staved off procrastination, worked hard, and completed your essay with time to spare despite not starting until the last minute. That feeling after finishing an essay is always amazing but only if you get it done in time! Don’t worry about getting lost in the crowd because everyone else will have their own essays they’re working on too so comparing yourself against them won’t do anything productive.
And that’s what I’d recommend doing when faced with an essay due tomorrow. I would also like to mention that this article was written last minute at 1:30 AM in a desperate attempt to finish something. Hopefully, you learned some valuable advice today and can use it to make the most out of your essays! Good luck studying for finals!