Mastering the careful art of scaring yourself into studying

This thought shook me to my core. File The Ubyssey

Every year, as midterm season sets in, so does my procrastination. In the early on-set stage, it manifests as scrolls through Instagram and SnapChats. This then shape shifts to something more extreme – thorough analyses of UBC Reddit threads.

Soon, I find myself texting old friends from high school and reconnecting with long lost relatives. I’ll FaceTime, converse on Messenger and even FaceTime audio in an effort to distract myself from the impending doom of my midterms.

So the other day, I found myself sitting in the Forestry building, procrastination coursing through my veins. How can I procrastinate more? What can I procrastinate with next? These were the questions that haunted my dreams and enveloped every waking thought. Still, I could not escape the reality of my situation – I am a student at UBC. We are halfway through the term. I have midterms.

Suddenly, everything became clear. The only way I would begin studying is by scaring myself into it. This would not be easily accomplished. But it was necessary.

I began with a long walk up Main Mall. I passed Henry Angus and a small crowd of business students. I considered the opportunity costs of studying in light of my lacking supply of motivation and great demand being placed on me by my course load. Terrifying.

I wandered past the Chemistry building. I yearned to learn through osmosis, but knew this would require technological innovation I may not live to see.

This thought shook me to my core.

I sat in a corner of the Rose Garden I never knew existed. The roses looked like canvas notifications and the thorns like pencils. But the stems? They looked like long winding road of higher education, reaching for sunlight. Tuum est, I murmured.

My caffeine headache hit me as I made eye contact with the Birb at the Martha Piper Fountain. Standing in line at Ike’s, the cashier’s face morphed into my professor’s face. Instead of the usual “How are you paying?” she urged: “Study.”

I looked into my americano misto. In lieu of foamy peaks, I saw a perfect rendering of a Buchanan lecture hall.

I had wasted enough time. I was done procrastinating. I would hit the books. Shaken, not stirred. Motivated, not scared.