In a developing story out of Ann Arbor, MI, the deadline on local student Kelly Bard’s final research paper is near enough to inspire anxiety, but not enough to inspire any kind of real action.
“I’ve known about this 20-page research paper since the first day of class, and it’s 40% of my grade,” says Kelly. “So, I’m definitely pretty stressed about it.”
The paper is now due in two weeks, which is sufficiently close for Kelly to feel an ever-growing sense of dread about it, but not close enough for her to begin working on it in any way.
“I know my topic, and I’ve found a bunch of relevant readings,” Kelly says. “But it’s, like, an overwhelming amount of reading. Thinking about even diving into that is so intense.”
At present, Kelly is starting Breaking Bad for the first time.
“I have plenty of time to write the paper,” Kelly says. “But then I have a 10-page paper for another class due the next day, and two finals and a presentation.”
“I think I just have to accept that it’s gonna be a hellish week,” says Kelly, while texting a few friends to see if anyone’s around tonight. “I’m probably gonna go see this Dutch movie, but I don’t even know if I’ll be able to enjoy it with how anxious I am about everything I need to get done. It’s literally all I can think about.”
“She has spent so much time being stressed about writing this paper,” says Kelly’s roommate, Shea Sherman. “But I’ve invited her to the library with me to just work on it and she never comes. I guess she just doesn’t have the right amount of fire under her ass yet.”
When asked why she doesn’t simply begin the intimidating task while she still has adequate time to work on it at a reasonable pace, Kelly’s response was resolute.
“I can’t,” she says. “I cannot do that.”
“Right now, the anxiety is lurking behind me, shadowing my every movement,” Kelly explains. “But it’s not until I feel the pressure of that deadline like a blade against my neck that I’ll actually be able to sit down at my computer and put words on the page, probably over the course of physically and psychologically taxing all-nighter.”
“I might have to cut another class the day before to get it done,” Kelly adds. “But that’s just the way it goes with higher learning.”