Thursday, September 23, 2010
Deadlines: Love 'em or Hate 'em?
I am working like a fiend this week to prepare for the biggest test of my life.
I am taking the comprehensive final on Friday for my Master's Degree in Education. Here's the kicker; they can test me on any of the course work that I have studied in the last two years while pursuing this degree. I am TERRIFIED!!!!!
As Jean mentioned on Monday, we got our requested materials all submitted plus I actually had a weekend at home to get some 4th grade work caught up. I even had a chance to straighten up my nest so that my world would be orderly for my week of study.
Then Monday night the panic hit! I have a three page paper using five references due Saturday by 8:00 p.m. In order to feel like I have prepared for the exam I need to read about 500 pages of text before Friday, PLUS create answers to all twelve of the study guide questions. Questions, I might add, that require both enormous and gigantic answers. Number 4 alone is 3 pages of notes--not sentences, just notes and there are eleven more that are just as scary. To say that I am OUT of my mind is putting it mildly.
Monday night as I lay wide awake in bed, I thought to myself that really this is all about a deadline. Often I use the adrenaline brought on by working at the last minute to push myself to higher achievement. Writing the paper this week is an example of that. I am using that deadline to motivate me into getting some other things done so I can focus on making sure that I finish in time. The deadline of being ready for the final, on the other hand, feels totally different and much more panicky. So I have to ask myself, "What makes the two deadlines so different?" I don't really have an answer other than it probably has something to do with control. I control the work for the paper and have very specific perimeters in which to create it. On the other hand, the comprehensive exam feels more like a crap shoot and I hate to gamble. Really. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that the only game I play at the fair is "Pick Up Ducks" because every duck is a winner.
How do you deal with deadlines? Do you love them because they push you to accomplish more or hate them because they force you to complete things that you don't feel ready for? Or is it a mixture of the two?