Nicole, Honors Project
Heading out to do some filming for my honors project. Photo by Sage Forte.

Coming Face to Face with the Beast

There is a beast that stalks college students all around the world in the middle of the night. It creeps on all fours into their bedrooms, takes possession of their minds, and prevents them from doing the very thing they are in college to do: their homework.

This beast comes in many forms: laptop crashes, Twitter notifications, and even nearest and dearest friends. It will stop at nothing to accomplish its sinister goal.

What is this monstrous creature? Procrastination.

The independent nature of the class has forced my classmates and me to buckle down and focus more on self-discipline.

As a sophomore in college, I’ve had my fair share of battles with the beast. It first began stalking me in high school as I struggled through numerous AP classes. It then followed me across the country to Arcadia, where I’ve fought desperately against it for the past two years. For the most part, I’ve been victorious. Sure, there have been a few coffee-fueled late nights and hectic mornings spent frantically cramming for a test or racing against the clock to complete a paper. In fact, I’m writing this very blog a mere three hours before it’s due.

Despite my many experiences with procrastination, I’ve never struggled with it as much as I have this semester, and it’s all thanks to one class: Honors Project.

The structure of the class is unique, to say the least. It meets only seven times all semester, each time for 60 to 90 minutes. Each student has the freedom to create their own  project based on their own interests as long as it has an academic component to it. There are no official deadlines until the end of the semester, leaving the student (aka, me) to decide when work on the project will actually be done.

Which brings me back to the beast.

Although at this point I’m mostly caught up to where I want to be, if you would have asked me a month ago, I was hours behind…Ok, maybe more than hours. In the past few weeks, I’ve had to pay for my earlier lack of work ethic with long days and nights spent working on my honors project. It’s an abstract, artistic, audiovisual representation of mental illness, featuring interviews from women in college who struggle with issues such as bipolar or borderline personality disorder, chronic depression, and anxiety.  Their stories are highlighted with a video collage I’ve created using original footage I gathered throughout the semester. Other students’ projects vary from an Arcadia-focused leadership training program to an original Dungeons and Dragons game script.

The independent nature of the class has forced my classmates and me to buckle down and focus more on self-discipline. Every student in college struggles with the beast. But not all of us are given the opportunity to test ourselves against it in such an independent way. Ultimately, this is what makes the class so valuable. After all, in the working world, we won’t have professors breathing down our necks with deadlines and exam dates. We’ll have to struggle with the beast of procrastination in a whole new way.

All the more reason to conquer it now.