Monday, January 24, 2005

OK, so, at this point I'm taking it on faith that I can get into PSC 240, Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Principles. It theoretically meets Monday and Wednesday. The school year started on a Wednesday, before I had decided I wanted to take it. The Monday after that was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so there wasn't class. The Wednesday after that I showed up to class, only to be told by (a very few) other people that the professor had cancelled it. Just now I went to the class... and again, there was only a handful of people in the big room, and we decided he must have cancelled it today as well.

Sure, there's no question that I have the right room and time and stuff - the other people (the ones who came before they remembered it was cancelled) reassured me. And sure, the class itself won't be hard - I've already taken a bunch of poli-sci classes, and it says right on the syllabus that class is optional. And I'm even pretty confident that he'll sign me in - the poli-sci department secretary seemed confident of it, and I've only missed one actual class, and I e-mailed him, and as I said it should be easy.

But still, despite all that, I can't help but be discouraged by the fact that it's more than a week into class and my schedule is still not yet finalized.

Speaking of work, that reminds me, I had planned to write about the New Year's Resolution I made but I never got around to it. Well, every time I start thinking about self-improvement, for whatever reason, I try to address one of three ongoing problems: my social life, computer games, and procrastination. As for my social life, nothing's perfect blah blah blah, but things seem to be going relatively well these days. I have friends (both close confidants and more casual people I can have fun with), I have no shortage of places to go or things to do here at UR, and I've even met a fair amount of new people over the past year or so. And as for computer games, I used to focus on them as a real problem interfering with both my schoolwork and my social life, but I don't think so any more. Over the past couple years I've tried leaving them at home over vacations or whatever... and I'd just wind up wasting time in other ways instead.

My biggest personal problem (this week, at least - ask again after the next time I get rejected by someone or fail at a major goal or whatever) is procrastination. When I leave my elaborate, immersive computer games at home I just wind up spending a lot more time downloading TV episodes, reading discussions on Usenet and message boards and blogs, or reading books for fun. Until recently I used to believe that procrastination was just another way of getting stuff done and I shouldn't beat myself up and be so hard on myself about it, because I always got my assignments done anyway and got decent grades on them. But after last semester I can't tell myself that any more. CT stories getting written badly or not at all, Take Five applications being submitted with 30 seconds to spare, several other examples... I really do need to get better about it.

So that brings me to my New Year's Resolution. I'm not going to just try to resolve "no more procrastination" or something like that. It's almost the definition of overambitious, doomed resolutions. There are (have been) a couple weeks at the beginning of the year when nothing big is going on, so there's really no reason not to watch just until the end of the episode... and by February I'd have fallen back down the slippery slope to the point of starting papers at midnight the night before they're due.

Instead, the New Year's Resolution I made was to keep busy this year. Keep playing games, sure. But also take five classes, none of which are at an introductory level, all of which I'll need a decent grade in to graduate with the double major I want. Continue as a writer and editor at the CT. Take up ballroom dance, and maybe another group-oriented hobby of some kind. Get more involved with the Tiernan Project - there was all kinds of fun stuff, sure, but I don't think I did more than one community service event all last semester. Go to the gym relatively regularly, at least while I'm still at UR. Have a real job lined up by the time I graduate. Get more involved in politics than reading the comments on some blogs here and there. Write fiction fit for publication, even if I don't actually see any money from it. And continue to meet people, have fun, and hang out with friends.

The idea here is structured procrastination. To fight procrastination by creating a situation where the only way to avoid one task is by doing another. It will probably stressful, as someone pointed out to me at the end of last year - but fuck it, I could use the challenge. Will it work? Who knows, maybe it will get ignored like so many other New Year's Resolutions do. It's hard to tell so far because I don't have much of a workload from classes yet. But if it does then (not to use hyperbole here, but this really could be useful) it could change my life, and if it doesn't at least I will have challenged myself and learned about my limits and stuff.

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