I’m going to talk about the time I left a university assignment until the last minute and had to work flat out to get it finished. This was about ten years ago when I was doing my Master’s degree.
I had to do several 3000-word assignments for the modules on my Master’s course, but I remember that there was one in particular that I really struggled with. I had been procrastinating and putting it off for weeks, and in the end I left myself just two days to get the whole assignment done. This included finding and reading relevant books and articles, deciding on my thesis and assignment title, and producing a final draft which had to be handed in to the department office before the deadline.
The pressure of such a close deadline actually forced me to manage the task in a really efficient way. My first step was to decide on the general area that I wanted to write about, and then I limited myself to just ten research sources. I printed the most relevant pages, highlighted the key paragraphs and made some notes to summarise and synthesise the ideas that I found interesting. Finally, I just started writing the main body of the assignment, and I wrote the title and the introduction last.
I had mixed feelings at the time. I was annoyed with myself for leaving it so late to get started on the assignment, but I was relieved and quite impressed with myself when I managed to complete the final draft so quickly. It was also quite stressful and tiring to have to find articles, do photocopying and then write everything so quickly. I wouldn’t want to go through that again!