College Daze

College Daze

I should have been cramming for English—­reading Macbeth or Candide­
and finishing off all my papers on Shakespeare or Becket or Bede.
But I always put off all assignments until the last possible minute,
lugging around every textbook without really looking within it.

When final week came, I was panicked. I studied all day and all night.
Living on No Doz and coffee, my eyes were a terrible sight.
Bloodshot and ringed with dark circles, they read on and read on nonetheless—
Chaucer and Dickens and Somerset Maugham (and Cliff’s Notes, I have to confess.)

My very worst procrastination was ten papers in just seven days—
my mind racing onward and onward as I searched for each insightful phrase.
Biology, German and history, psychology and all the rest
battled to come to the front and be heard when they came to be put to the test.

By the end I was crazed and exhausted, craving only closed eyes and my bed—
putting authors and symbols and figures and facts right out of my overstuffed head.
I could have avoided this torment, the pressure, exhaustion and dread
If only I’d started three months in advance to prepare for each “big day ahead.”

In college I fear I was guilty. I put all things off just a smidge.
I majored in procrastination and minored in marathon bridge!

( This poem is dedicated to Marti, Yvonne, Patty, Ramjet, Karen Rea and all the house hashers, with whom I wasted many a long college afternoon and evening expanding my mind by playing bridge. I must admit that I haven’t played it since, which is why I have the time to write a poem a day and post it on my blog. Sometimes we learn more after college than during!)

The Prompt: Big Day Ahead—It’s the night before an important event: a big exam, a major presentation, your wedding. How do you calm your nerves in preparation for the big day?

14 thoughts on “College Daze

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Ha! Actually, I did grow out of it, but I still like those late nights that turn into early mornings. Did you find a job where procrastination held you in good stead? Trying to think of what that would be. Playing chicken (the car type) or sky diving if not done to excess. Poker, if you have a good hand. Thanks for your response, Joatmon—Judy

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  1. Allenda Moriarty

    Replace bridge with partying, and you have captured my college undergrad experience. Fortunately, I saw the light in grad school and was amazed at how much less stress there was not writing the papers the night before they were due. My recurring nightmare for years was that I had forgotten I was enrolled in a class, having skipped it for most of the semester, and then had to show up for the final. Hmmm, reality based.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I had that same dream into my fifties, only in addition to not having studied for the test, I was also usually nude from the waist up and very perplexed about why I hadn’t thought to put clothes on when everyone else had!

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  2. 007pandas / Nomadic Adventurer

    I love this poem, as it brought back so many memories of college. Finding something other than what I was supposed to, which was read. Thank goodness, I didn’t attend college during the years of video games, heck, I would never have attended classes!
    Great posting.

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  3. Pingback: Big Day Ahead | Blogged With Words

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