Undergrad taught me to plan ahead. I wasn’t always the plan-ahead type (in fact, in many ways I’m still not), but I had too many scary syllabi surprises in my college experience to repeat the same activity in grad school. I decided that the best way to keep calm and carry on in grad school would be to take every possible moment to work ahead, even if that mean only spending fifteen minutes a day on a project not due until December.
I saw my first project on the syllabus and decided to get cracking fairly early. The second Saturday of the school year saw me sitting at a carrel, thumbing through books in search of the answer to a specific question (the goal of this project). I took notes, hunted down articles, perused the stacks, and compiled a list of helpful sources.
While my classmates were panicking about their first projects (due next week), I was confident that I’d gathered most of the research I would need to put the final touches in place this weekend. No sweat.
Then I got a news flash. The first project’s goal was not, in fact, to hunt down the answer to a specific question. No, it was to find a reference resource about literature and make a presentation about it, complete with tidy little handouts.
It’s due next week. Until tonight, I hadn’t started.
So much for forethought.