31 March 2005

15. Procrastination

Dear procrastination,

Because of you, it's too late for me to write Robert Creeley fan mail, even though I've been a great admirer of his poetry for almost ten years. Serves me right, I know, but still. I dislike you most when I'm regretting opportunities I missed simply because I put them off for too long.

On the other hand, you're not always a bad thing. Maybe sometimes I wish I'd taken a little more time to do stuff, because postponing my responsibilities to the last possible second can get pretty hectic and stressful, but oftentimes I stress myself out just as much over a longer period of time if I try to get a head start on, say, making an important decision (or even an unimportant one). And since, in the case of decision-making, I tend to delay as long as I possibly can before I more or less impulsively choose the option that secretly appealed to me all along, waiting awhile and avoiding the problem can be a good way of saving myself the long, drawn-out stress of agonizing over all the possibilities, right? Right.

For instance, the deadline to register for spring term continuing education classes at the University of Oregon was March 7, and I didn't start looking at the course schedule until three days before that. With two days left to go, I made a list of 17 interesting-looking courses, of which at least 9 had prerequisites that I haven't taken yet. Now, if I had started looking sooner, I might have had time to contact some of the instructors for these courses for permission to take courses without the prerequisites, but as it is I narrowed down my decision quite a bit already.

Furthermore, because I waited so long to even peruse the course schedule and catalog, 10 of the 17 interesting-looking courses on my list were full before I even started! And not all of those 10 were the classes I can't take due to prerequisites! Score! That narrowed my decision down to one of four classes. and left me with slightly under 48 hours to pick a class and jump through the hoops required to take it, or forget about the whole plan until I can register for fall term classes, like ANTH (Anthropology) 365: Food and Culture (so awesome!) Either way, I didn't agonize over it endlessly! Go me!

Furthermore, thanks to you, procrastination, I tricked myself into taking a crash course in the University of Oregon's course offerings, and it looks like my current academic interests more or less all revolve around cultural studies in some way. That's broad enough to satisfy my um, shall we say, diverse academic interests (really, I want an advanced degree in "What's that over there?") but it's enough of a unifying theme that I could probably weasel my way into a semi-structured course of study about it, somehow. Maybe. But I can put off thinking about that for a little longer, right? That's what I thought.

But finally, because of the awesomeness of procrastination, I ended up obtaining a U. of Oregon ID number and not using it because a better opportunity came up. I'd been working two jobs for some time, and taking a class was going to be my excuse for quitting one. However, while I was postponing the decision of what class to take, I got word of an opening at my second job that fit the description of "I'd quit my first job for this" that I gave when I interviewed. Long story short, I now get to spend two afternoons a week making delicious vegetarian food, including vast quantities of basically whatever I want as long as it's not too expensive — and it's all possible because I waited so long about signing up for class.

Sometimes, procrastination, you're the best. But I still wish I'd written Creeley before he died.


Started 5 March 2005, when "maybe I'll take a class!" was sort of a super-secret plan for me, published/last updated 31 March 2005 after my second day of training for the new job of awesomeness.