I stood up from the desk, bleary-eyed and tired, and looked out the window at the nighttime sky. I had been tapping away at the computer for a good five hours and I had at least another two hours of work in front of me. I had written 18 pages of a 20-page paper on “Mass Media’s influence and effect on daily life” and needed to study for a test in another class.
When I was in college, I tried to avoid pulling an all-nighters—working until the wee hours of the morning—but like most students, I sometimes couldn’t avoid them. During this particular night, I had a major test to study for, my 20-page paper to write, a large project to hand-in, and a scholarship application to finalize.
I hated to work the midnight oil, I knew it would comeback to haunt me, but I gave-in and worked until I got everything done. I tended to avoid all-nighters, because I never found them all that productive and I always felt wiped out and even more stressed out afterward.
It gets worse
While I hated all-nighters, I’ve come across something worse: watching your kids work on last minute homework and projects. Now I would never let them stay up much past their bed times, it’s still every parent’s nightmare.
I’ve seen it with all three of my kids: they have a permission slip or form they need to fill out so that they can go on a class trip; they have a page of math homework or a short essay on current events they forgot to get done; you get the picture. My kids have all been great about working ahead and not procrastinating, but it still happens. Life has a way of getting in the way.
For whatever reason, when my kids have had to catch up on work, it’s tended to be group projects. I saw it most recently with my youngest son, he and his friends forgot about a missing element they needed to complete for a project. Nothing big, but still annoying. Now he’s usually pretty studious, but, of course, he came to us right before his bedtime in a panic and needed to get the project done immediately. We suggested he wait to the morning, but he said it couldn’t wait.
Oh the joy.
I wanted to help him, but I couldn’t. I wanted to do the project myself, but I couldn’t. I wanted to put him in a six foot by six foot cubicle and lecture him continuously on the downfall of putting off projects to the last minute, but I couldn’t.
Last minute projects drive me crazy, but, in the end, I’ve found with my kids that they have to learn the lesson themselves: Never put off tomorrow, what you can do today.