The Buddy System
I spent last weekend in Vermont with members of a campus student group. Taking into account that this was a group trip, I knew that getting work done would be a challenge. I wanted to go -- the trip sounded like a fun way to get away from MIT -- but I also wanted to get some studying in this weekend. I also don’t regret going. In fact, I knew I would regret missing the voyage because of the possibility that I would be more productive here. So, I told myself I’d study whenever there were no group activities taking place.
You can guess how well that worked. I had plenty of free time; work just didn’t manage to fit itself into a lot of it. How did I procrastinate this weekend? Let me count the ways.
Playing Mafia on Friday night. There was a fairly large group playing, about thirty people. It was my first time playing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it -- so much so that I also played in a smaller game Saturday. Playing with a greater number of people was definitely more enjoyable; of course, more people lends itself to a longer game, so it’s possible I just like putting homework off longer.
Watching the snowfall. Snow is beautiful. Though it isn’t uncommon in New York (where I come from), I love watching the first snowfall of the year. So, a few of us stood outside Saturday night drinking hot cider and watching the snow drift to the ground. Perfect time to be studying 5.112, but the snow had a more convincing argument.
Playing Taboo on Friday night at 4 a.m. After a four-hour car ride, stargazing, and Mafia, I somehow still had energy. Use it to do useful work, you say? Never! I’d never played Taboo before either, and what better opportunity to play than four o’clock in the morning with breakfast being served in five hours? Of course, half the challenge was getting other people to play. You can never procrastinate alone. There always needs to be more than one person to waste time. For best results, use the buddy system.
In high school, I never used to put off work this much. Sure, any assignments due Monday were meant to be started Sunday night. But at least then I would stick to the Sunday night rule. It must be in the nature of college students to avoid work for as long as possible. Everything still gets done, but perhaps only just on time. Or maybe it’s at the expense of sleep. The phrase “time management” has new meaning to me. I used to think I had everything scheduled properly, but that’s because it was true. It’s a whole different ballgame here. Suddenly, I have to decide whether I would rather study or play games or party or chat with other people. The former is seriously lacking in appeal; that is, of course, until you realize that it’s Sunday evening and your literature paper that is due in two days has not outlined or written itself, nor has the material for your chemistry test embedded itself permanently in your memory.
But I probably should go a little easy on myself. After all, seven out of nine lectures’ worth of my chemistry notes got read. And I did get this column done. There’s a lot to be said for the buddy system ... and also for car rides.