1. Pack a bag with study essentials, such as dense texts written by long-gone thinkers, headphones, laptop charger, etc. Take said bag with you to the library, which you haven’t set foot in all quarter. At the library, feel like a college student having a quintessential college experience.
2. Open a blank word document. Write name, professor, class, date, and “Title” where a cool, catchy one-liner will summarize your masterpiece of a paper. Decide this is a good progress and open Facebook.
3. Catch up with old high school friends. Hey, you haven’t seen them in a while. You might as well.
4. Read New York Times articles and click around on NPR. Current events are important.
5. Consider blogging. Actually blog. Realize that blogging takes thinking too. Close web browser.
6. Open web browser again to check email. Just in case.
7. Plug in headphones to drown out dead silence/friend’s conversation/heavy breathing of anonymous person sharing your table. Put playlist on shuffle and rediscover music collection. A surprise with every listen!
8. Read Anna Karenina. Feel accomplished because reading a Russian novel that can bludgeon hippos to death cannot possibly be form a procrastination.
9. Think of a Brilliant Idea. Spend the next half hour perfecting a paragraph by including the important tenants of the Brilliant Idea. Decide that there is productivity in anonymity. Find value in your expensive college education because you understand the Big Ideas. Repeat sporadically over the course of five hours.
10. Wonder why you decided to attend the University of Chicago. Wonder why your reading period is only two days.
11. Look up in alarm as a crowd of adults snap pictures of the library and exclaim loudly about insignificant things. Glare angrily. Remember that it is Alumni Weekend. Remember that it is also Finals Week and glare even more intensely.
12. Quick: yogurt or potato chips. Which one is the better snack food?
13. Half-ass a conclusion. Reread paper and proofread. See that it is not up to standard and close laptop in resignation. Reread it again later and decide it’s fine. You would rather watch Disney movies for the rest of the day anyway.
14. Wake up too late the next morning and spend two hours at breakfast anyway. Begin work by deciding how to color code your math notes. Call it an afternoon well-spent when you’ve finally made your decision.
15. Freak out because your math exam is tomorrow, and you know nothing. Memorize theorems. Flip through papers desperately.
16. Remember that math exam is actually not tomorrow. You’ve lost track of the days because time really doesn’t seem to work normally under these conditions.
17. Revel in newly found free time. Feel that anything is possible and act responsibly by taking advantage of the day and going to the museum instead of reviewing notes.
18. Around midnight, stop thinking, not because you’re tired, but because your brain has actually stopped reacting to the outside world. Finals Week has become a state of mind.
19. On some specified day, print and turn in paper/write email/take math exam/conduct inventory of writing utensils afterward/curse yourself for forgetting the answer to supposedly easy question/tell yourself to stop thinking about the paper or test/feel vague sense of relief that it’s over.
20. After two hours, forget everything that has happened and carry on with life as if the last week were no big deal. Later, describe the time to your friends and family as “all right” and “not too bad”.