For the Love of Deadlines

Well, this is it. The final two months of my BA in Communications. A 24-month program that has consumed much of my personal spare time, as well as eaten away at both my social and dating lives. Its had me in tears over multiple looming deadlines and jumping for joy over A+ papers returned from some of the most brilliant minds. And July 15, 2012 has been my final deadline, since the day I put a deposit on my spot in the program.

Earlier this week, I started my very last class: Advertising and Public Relations. Sounds fun, right? Seriously, no sarcasm (for once)! I’ve been looking forward to this class since the fall. Years ago, I worked for the Public Affairs Bureau and to this day I still miss the fast pace of marketing, news reporting and speech writing. When I realized this was going to be my final class in the program, I thought there couldn’t have been a better way to end it. The only problem now is that I kinda, sorta, have to rush through it.

When I applied to the Bold Academy, I knew a consequence of going would be having to finish school before leaving. With my fundraising numbers going up, and the potential to earn some extra side income before/during/after, I’ve started getting used to the idea that this is really happening. I’ve put my holiday time in at work, checked out some flight prices and even costed out the option of driving down (you know… just for fun!).

The only thing left standing in the way, besides the obvious fundraising goal, is school. And whether or not I have the ability to squeeze 8 weeks of homework into 5. While I potentially have until June 30th to finish up before flying out, I would like to submit everything even a few days before that. Baby Sis is graduating from high school that week and the fam will be celebrating that + Mom’s birthday (and I guess my own, since I’ll be away for it).

From now until then, I have 5 individual assignments, 2 team assignments and a personal reflection to write and submit. That list doesn’t actually seem too long except for the fact that I… well, I like deadlines. I like them so much that I usually don’t start working on homework assignments until a few days before they are due. While that doesn’t sound like a recipe for success, I have been able to maintain an A-/B+ average through all the madness. But that’s not going to work for my final 5 weeks…

So, to anyone who has recently been or currently is a student, I need your help! Do you have any tricks for how I can get things done ahead of schedule? I was thinking of personally changing all of my deadlines to 1-2 weeks earlier and forcing myself to believe I’ll be docked marks if anything is late!

What do you think? Can I do this!?

  • Wow, congratulations! You must be so relieved!

    As far as staying ahead of schedule, get a calendar and start project managing. Work backwards from the due date and schedule mini-goals for the next 5 weeks with one (or several) things to do every day – like, get ahead on reading; write notes for each of your assignments, start writing your personal reflection this weekend etc. That way you’ll never lose sight of the due date, and your thoughts will be organized way ahead of time.

    It worked for me when I was in university but it took me years to really learn the lesson. You can do this! Good luck!

    • It’s definitely not an easy lesson to learn, you’re right… and I don’t have much time to learn it, but I don’t really have a choice! haha

  • I think you can do this. What I have done in the past is move up the deadlines, and give my self a reward or a punishment. For instance, you’ve been paying yourself $5 everytime you work out right? If you don’t do a assignment by the time you schedule it to be done, take away $25. (or whatever price)

    Start doing it a little bit at a time–get ahead on the reading, start outlines for the assignments and doing various things like that. Good luck!

  • Complete your first assignment ASAP and then start working on your very last one. Reflection papers are usually easy to knock out early. When you finish an assignment, submit it right away. It’s also not a bad idea to let the professor know what you are doing. They may have suggestions to help you along the way.

    If you’re concerned about procrastining your writing, schedule an appointment with someone to proofread your papers. That appointment date now becomes your new deadline.

  • I’d make new deadlines for yourself. Write them in your agenda, put them in your phone. Treat them like real deadlines and you’ll be ok. :)

  • I would absolutely tell your professor that you are planning on finishing early, and submit your self imposed due dates to him/her in advance. That way you aren’t just accountable to yourself, you’re accountable to someone else in an authority position. I find that to be far more motivating.

  • I like Jordann’s suggestion – tell your profs that you are finishing early and then set those due date with the professor, that way you are held accountable. I really hate setting limits on myself when I know that I could maybe let it slide. I’m a huge procrastinator, so I’ll take an extra day if I can haha.

    • Oh yea. Ideally, I’d also like to see some friends and maybe go on one more trip to Vancouver, before I go… it’s going to be a busy few weeks!

  • It’s definitely not the best approach! But it kinda reminds me of blogging. I don’t blog days in advance of publishing a post… I always write the night before! And I love Jordann’s idea of telling my prof what’s up.

  • That’s so awesome! Definitely changing the dates for deadlines earlier, I used to do that because I would eventually forget that they weren’t the real deadlines and finish them all on time (or early I guess). Then I basically just shut myself in my room and pounded through the assignments, with the goal that once it was all done, I would treat myself with something.

  • Whew, sounds like your in for a busy couple of weeks. I really like Jordann’s idea of giving your deadlines to your prof – sounds like a great way to light the deadline-fires. I suggest making a list of every assignment you have to do, getting your workspace all prepped and then just diving in. I’ve always found listening to classical music helps me – it’s a bit of noise and I don’t get distracted by it (read: I don’t end up singing and dancing instead of working).

    • I just finished the list of all my assignments… yikes! And I’ve been listening to a lot of quiet, mellow music lately and it’s helped me get a lot of other writing/planning done, so you’re probably onto something there! Do you have any classical music recommendations!? I don’t know the first thing about it.

  • I like the suggestion to talk to your professor about earlier deadlines! I was going to suggest that you just set the earlier deadlines for yourself, but whenever I do that I hear someone talking about the real deadline and procrastinate until that time…

    I missed quite a few days of class when I was interviewing for grad school, and I think that was the first semester that I REALLY had a good handle on my studying/assignment schedule, since I had to get ahead as much as possible in some classes. It was tough, but I got through the semester with decent grades! I’m sure you can do it, you just have to keep on top of the organization :)

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