Senior Reflection -- Do Less: A Case Study in Procrastination

By Grace Bowers ’15

My tendency towards extreme procrastination has yet to lessen since arriving on the Hill three and a half years ago. Despite the horrible feelings of anxiety and exhaustion that accompany late nights in Burke and last-minute, 20-page papers, I have always loved putting things off. However, the things I procrastinate on have changed throughout my time at Hamilton as I have changed, both as a student, and a person.

As a first-year, I was involved in a stupidly large amount of activities. As one of the few not from “the City” or “just-outside-Boston,” I felt the need to join every club that promised potential friends. From Student Assembly to joining the crew team to rushing a sorority, I was the definition of all-over-the-place. I was gone for weekend races, I was at rush events and I was constantly at committee meetings for Student Assembly. Beyond all of these commitments, it was my ability to procrastinate that prevailed. Whether it was handing in my design projects still wet with paint from that morning or sending in assignments as I sprinted across campus to my 9 a.m. biology lecture, sacrificing time spent working for time spent with my friends is ultimately what I will remember. And, even though I sacrificed many hours of sleep (much to the chagrin of my roommate), my favorite moments of procrastination were spent attempting five-minute workouts in the Minor common room, racing to fill in state maps of the United States and last minute decisions to attend Avicii concerts.

Sophomore year was only slightly different from my first year in these respects: Bundy East replaced Minor, the Ho Chi Minh trail replaced the trek to the Darkside and off-campus trips became a reality with the long-awaited car privileges for sophomores. My ability to avoid work, luckily, survived the transition and manifested itself in early-mornings spent struggling to read Plato and attempting to learn statistics. Though I no longer participated in Student Assembly, my role in my sorority increased as rush events began. I found myself loving the creativity involved with rush and event planning, especially in place of studying Art History slides and doing extra crew workouts. My favorite moments not working were spent watching hours of YouTube videos with friends on my broken futon, making it to Diner B despite the arctic wind, cocktail hours in the Bundy quad and living in a gross, but lovable, hallway with all of my best friends.

Junior year was completely different. I migrated from Bundy to the G-road apartments for the fall. Back to living in a double, I existed almost exclusively in the library or in friends’ suites on campus with the crazy workloads that any junior can expect to have. Although a majority of friends were abroad, I became close with those I had never known before. The social events were different than the previous years too. With the newly changed rush-pledge cycle, the fall was quieter. However, despite the newness of this slow-paced semester, I loved procrastinating with trips to Panera, long chats sitting in the parking lot and ‘perfecting’ my cooking skills. The spring brought me to Rome, where I explored my ability to survive the Italian subway, and tested the limits of how much I could eat before getting sick. Some nights were spent memorizing information about ancient Rome and watching Italian films, but more nights were spent traipsing across Europe.

Finally, senior year has been filled with conflicted emotions of excitement for the future and enjoyment of the familiarity of friends and professors, but it is also filled with moments of fear and anxiety about the unknowns beyond graduation. More immediate anxieties include those of thesis woes, work deadlines and questions of what on earth I will be doing next year. Regardless of these real issues I will need to confront very, very soon, it is my procrastinating moments that have been so memorable thus far. Following my retirement from the crew team and tour guiding, I’ve had so much more free time to be with the people I care about. Even simple activities with friends, like morning trips to Dunkin Donuts, laughing over plates of chicken fingers, spontaneous sing-a-longs and watching old movies snuggled under covers are the moments when I realize that Hamilton has provided me with beautiful things: love, friendship and an understanding of who I am.

As a psychology major, I write papers with take-away points. What was the relevance of the study? Why does it matter? Well, the take-away from my experience at Hamilton is that you should spend less time stressing about work and living in the library (which I am guilty of doing), and more time doing things that seem silly and pointless because those are the moments that will last in your memory.

Hamilton is a special place full of special people, and it is so essential that you (“occasionally”) procrastinate work in order to spend time with the great people you go to school with. Do a little less and enjoy the ride—it will be over before you know it.

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