We have first papers due…

We have first papers due on Monday, so I spent fifteen minutes of class time today talking about 'scaffolding', about time management, about the incredible helpfulness of the calendar, about how I didn't actually learn decent study habits at all until I was 30 and in my Ph.D. -- through college and my MFA, I did all my work, but always at the last minute. I was even proud of doing it that way; I think it made me feel smarter. Which is funny, but it is actually dumb dumb dumb. The amount of work is the same, whether you do it in advance or at the last minute. But the stress is so much worse doing it at the last minute.

And eventually, life becomes busy enough, the projects become big enough and hard enough, that if you haven't learned to scaffold, to schedule and calendar your time, there are some things you just can't do. Big, important things that you really want to do, and which are impossible to accomplish at 5 a.m. the morning you're supposed to hand it in.

You can still learn those study skills, those work habits -- I think you can learn them at any point. But I wish I'd learned them in high school, when they were trying to teach them to me (and it went blithely in one ear and out the other). I don't know if today's lecture penetrated, but if even one student out of twenty-four starts making better use of her calendar, I will consider today's teaching a triumph.

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