The “Procrastinator’s” Survival Guide to Writing

It is safe to say that most of us have waited until the last minute to finish, or even start, a paper. Unless you are an overachiever, and kudos to you if you are, you understand the stress that comes with being a procrastinator. Everyone has their own methods and strategies to crank out an A paper the night before–or a C if that’s all you really need to pass. But, when the time comes, what supplies are necessary for writing a paper the night before the due date?

Some essentials:

  • The essential essentials– Obviously, you’ll need your sources (printed or otherwise), any supporting materials like your assignment sheet, and maybe even have Purdue OWL pulled up for a quick reference point when working on citation styles!
  • Caffeine– Let’s be real. More often than not, writing a paper the night before its due can take you into the morning hours. Staying alert is crucial, otherwise you might make silly grammar mistakes and who has time to edit a paper at 6 in the morning and your class is at 9? That’s where caffeine comes in and becomes your best friend! The most obvious source of caffeine would be coffee, however, if coffee isn’t your style, there is always Mountain Dew or various other sugary/caffeine loaded drinks. If you’re a stress eater, maybe keep a bar or two of chocolate (chocolate has some caffeine, but isn’t the most effective) in your room for emergencies like this. You might store some dark chocolate, or even mints, for nights like this since they are full of memory-boosting vitamins and antioxidants!
  • Web Blockers– If you’re like me, you are easily distracted by the internet and its endless possibilities. I think we all can admit to scrolling through old Facebook posts on our old crushes’ wall until we’ve reached 2009 and then realized it was 2 in the morning. Oh, that’s just me? Well in any case, there are plenty of extensions that can help you avoid such scenarios as you try to write your paper. StayFocused is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to lock yourself out of a website for a certain amount of time. While it could be annoying, the lock can’t be undone and you really do have to wait the amount of time that you set. This would allow you to avoid those pesky distractions and could definitely be beneficial whenever you are studying, not just in those last minute panic sessions.
  • Isolation– When I have found myself in this type of situation, and it happens often, I need complete isolation. As you probably know already, roommates can be a huge distraction. That is why I actually like working on papers late at night and after my roommates have gone to bed. Feeling as though I am home alone cuts down on distractions, but not completely because I still have Wi-Fi access (I am definitely going to try StayFocused in the future!). Also, putting on music can help you concentrate and fills that deafening silence which can be a distraction too.


written by Josh D. (WC alumnus)


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