…but now I do.
I got the best advice today. I was talking to a fellow classmate during the last three minutes or so before class started. We both were bitching a bit about the stress of the end of the semester–papers and deadlines and presentations, oh my–when she let drop that she was taking seven classes. Impressive. And that she is signed up for eight in the fall. Possibly crazy. And that she successfully completed seventeen credit hours during the summer break. (She wasn’t bragging, I expressed concern about her fall plans, she was convincing me that she could do it)
And, as she told me this, I started out with an Oh, I’ve been there too kind of smile/nod thing. I had a seven-class semester once. It sucked, but I survived. Then I got worried about her when she said she was upping the ante next semester, and then, by the time she started talking about last summer, I basically just wanted her to stop talking so I could ask my question:
How in the hell is that possible?
And she told me her secret. She said, and I quote, “Right now, school is my job. I have another part-time job, but that’s just a part-time job. This is my job. And since this is my job, I work on it, every day, full-time. I work on every class, every day. About an hour. And so far I’ve been fine.”
Then she flipped her planner around so I could see it. And it looked like an elementary school teacher’s lesson plan book. At certain hours, she was studying Spanish. Then she went to chemistry, then she went to French lit. These aren’t the times that the classes met. These are the times that she, personally, spent an hour with the books. Not eight hours the day before the test. Not an entire weekend writing the paper that is due Monday. An hour a day per class.
Dude. That seems positively revolutionary to me. Somewhere in the last year or so, I read some exercise guru talk about how to avoid putting off exercise. S/he said that if procrastination is your problem, the every-other-day workout plan won’t help you–you’ll always be able to convince yourself that tomorrow is the day “on” and today is the day “off.” This individual said that instead, determine that you work out every day. Period. And sometimes that’s going to be a jog around the block with the dog and sometimes that is letting Jillian Michaels’ latest DVD kick your ass. But you do something every day. And that made so much sense to me.
And this is the same concept. Every day. This is the job. Earn the weekend.
(She also said that she puts all deadlines into her calendar a week earlier than they are in the schedule, just in case something goes wrong. And at that point, I decided she should probably be canonized. Or committed. And then class started.)