Tutors Aren’t Wizards and Other Things to Remember for Your Big Assignment

Friends, the path to getting ‘er done is paved with Youtube clips, urgent snack breaks and the decision to suddenly re-organize your blazers from “damn” and “dayem.” School assignments often bear the brunt of this reality, so here are a few ways you can help yourself get through the hysteria.

Accept Procrastination and Adjust
I’ve heard of people who don’t procrastinate. They have unicorns as pets. And you probably don’t have a unicorn as a pet, which means you will not be able to ignore the siren call of procrastination, the one that convinces you that to watch one more episode of OITNB. It’s a tricky beast at best. The one way I’ve found to beat it is to enlist the help of someone who also has an assignment due so you can keep each other on your toes. Say what you will, guilt is a powerful motivator.

Get Up Offa that Thing
I realize it’s counterintuitive to suggest that you take time away from your assignment since time is all you have left. That and your precious cup of coffee, sweet nectar of the gods. But sometimes stepping away from your work to give your brain a rest is exactly what’s required to bring it back to it full force. When I was in crunch time, I used to go for a 20 minute run, use my five pound weights to do some muscle toning, or have a mini-dance party. Kanye West is responsible for half the papers I wrote in grad school. Moving around changes up your ideas and helps your body release some of the stress that comes with working on an assignment all day.

Getting an Extension
Sometimes you will need an extension. This is not the end of the world, so long as you ask for one AS SOON as you realize you won’t make the deadline. Not the morning that it’s due. Someone who asks for an extension a week in advance is much more likely to get it since it helps your prof organize their work. Remember that yours is not the only paper they have to grade and that knowing they still have more work to do before they can move on with their lives can be very, very annoying (said the girl who handed in nearly every paper late).

Tutors Aren’t Magic
A simple misconception about tutors I’d like to clear up: they are not wizards. You cannot meet with one the day before your test and magically learn everything you need to know to ace it. You can also not ask one to read a book for you and have them send you their notes and ideas on said book. They’re tutors, not ghost writers, and it’s not worth the possible plagiarism accusations. The instructions for getting an extension apply here as well: get in touch with a tutor as soon as you need one.

Reward the Small Victories
I know. It seems huge. And impossible. No surprise there—you’re looking at the whole thing instead of its parts. Separate the work you have to do into small, realistic tasks. When you’ve accomplished one of these goals, reward yourself with something that will make you feel great: a yummy green smoothie, a walk in the park, a cuddle with your pet or roommate or significant other (or all three!), a delicious stretch on a yoga mat, or a call to a friend so you can be sure the world outside your work still exists.

Have a great year, my lovelies!

Follow Erica on twitter @ericaruthkelly.

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