The Hidden Value of the Late Night Grind

Christopher - St. Louis, Missouri
Entered on December 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Allow me to preface my work as thus: I am writing this essay the night I am supposed to submit it. This is no anomaly in my academic career; for years I have been putting things off to the last minute, waiting to do today what I can just as easily finish tomorrow, and I seriously doubt that this habit will change any time soon.

Now, you may draw what you conclusions you like from that statement: that I am lazy, that I lack work ethic, or perhaps even that I do not care about my education. My grade point average disagrees. No, the real reason why I have waited, do wait, and will continue to wait until the last conceivable moment to do that which must be done is because I like it. For I believe in procrastination.

I am of the opinion that it is only in last ditch circumstances that human determination and willpower really shine through. Any automaton can be taught to make small structured advances towards a goal, but people possess something more. We have the ability to make remarkable bursts of progress under the greatest pressure, and it is in these instances of triumph against all odds that we realize our full potential. By straining ourselves to our limits, by electing to fight uphill battles, we prove to ourselves that we are capable of anything and everything.

I once tried to complete a long term assignment in the manner my teachers had always advocated: little bits at a time, no haste and no waste. What I ended up with were five free hours of immense boredom and an, “Oh, I guess that’s it.” There was no sigh of relief, no grin of a job well done, just emptiness. Such a manner of work is entirely unsuited to a species so brilliantly capable of coming through in a fix. And at the end of a night of cramming and grinding endeavor, the hours of seemingly unbearable stress and anxiety give way to a moment of incomparable fulfillment. In that brief space of time, one can feel truly proud of their accomplishments. And that is why I procrastinate. That feeling, if nothing else, is something worth not fighting for.