My name is April, and I’m from a small town just north of Kingston called Glenburnie. If you know where that is, extra points for you! Friends already. If you love quaint little one-stoplight towns, then you need to take a drive up Division St to the outlands beyond the Hwy 401. A conservation area, some bales of hay, one store, more hay bales, and a lovely greenhouse with everything you could possibly need for your garden. All in all, a great place to call home.
I’ve been at Queen’s since 2018 when I began my Concurrent Education experience in English and History. After completing both my BAH and my BEd, I felt a desire to keep going to school. I have barely scratched the surface of Indigenous literatures, and now I get the chance to continue learning about it in the MA I’m just starting!
When I started at Queen’s, I was not a procrastinator. I think we all know from the syntax of that sentence that I have now blossomed into a thriving procrastinator. A “procrastination crustacean,” if you will. Picture a fiery red lobster just crawling around on the floor, snapping at any opportunity to do anything except the task it should be doing and burying itself in the sand when the stress is too much to handle.
I call this “active procrastination.” Passive procrastination to me means pushing tasks aside and passively filling the void with fun but aimless activities like streaming shows or visiting friends. Active procrastination involves putting all my effort into other, non-urgent academic tasks in order to avoid a more challenging task. I might work on readings for next month to avoid a paper due this week, for example. Even now, I’m writing this blog instead of working on a proposal for a project I’m involved in!
When I do this, I am fully aware that I am procrastinating, but I can convince at least part of myself that I am “too busy” to work on that daunting task right now. Am I excited to finally get to study Indigenous literatures in grad school, something I’ve longed for since my second year of undergrad? Absolutely! But am I exponentially more nervous that I will produce subpar work that will be devastating not only to me, but also to my mentors and the community at large? Yes. Yes, I am. Have I ever done that before? No, but that does not stop the fear from lurking. And that makes me procrastinate.
I blame my chronic perfectionism. I place a lot of value on my academic success. I often heard in teachers’ college that you’re not supposed to do that, nor promote that mindset among your students. However, as the years have progressed, the need to do better than last year has become increasingly challenging. Now that I’m standing at the doorstep of a Master of Arts degree, carting all my baggage with me, I have to admit that I am nervous to knock.
In my undergraduate degrees, I could get by as a procrastination crustacean. Now that I’m in Grad School, however, there is no time for that. With only a few hours of class each week, I’m very much in charge of confronting things on my own, and everything seems to be riding on one or two assignments per course. I know this is all going to be challenging, but I also know that I am not alone in this. You are right there with me.
This year, I’m going to confront my chronic perfectionism head on and take some risks. This could be my last year in academia, so I want to do all that I can to broaden my horizons.
It all starts with knocking. Wish me luck!
Until next time,