How To [Not] Write An Essay The Night Before It Is Due

How To [Not] Write An Essay The Night Before It Is Due

So, you’ve got an essay due tomorrow, and you haven’t even started it.  Maybe you thought you still had another week, or maybe you’ve just been lazy.  Either way, I present to you this fifteen step guide to [not] getting it done.  These instructions are specifically geared towards a Television & Popular Culture essay, but can be easily adapted to suit your needs.

1. You’ve eaten dinner, maybe watched a little bit of telly, and now it’s time to get to work. Settle down at your desk, or perhaps on the couch – or, even better, on your bed.  Open up a bag of lollies [“study fuel”], and make sure you’re nice and comfortable, because you’re going to be there for a while.

2. Check your phone.  You’ll want it sitting next to you at all times in case someone needs to contact you.  At some point in the next couple of hours you’ll get a message from your good friend Robyn, inviting you to join her at the pub.  Explain to her that you need to get this stupid essay done tonight, and therefore won’t be able to make it.  She’ll understand, and will probably reply with an emoticon to display her disappointment.

3. Watch an old episode of QI on YouTube to really get yourself into an academic/intellectual mood.  It’s important that your brain is ready for the essay-writing process, and listening to Stephen Fry’s posh, soothing voice can help prepare your mind.

4. Get out your subject reader and notes.  Go through and highlight those sentences that you underlined/put an asterisk next to during that week’s tutorial.  Also highlight the relevant chapter headings, because they’re quite important.

5. If you haven’t done so already, check Facebook [as well as Twitter, tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.].  Look up the profile of that girl you were friends with at school but haven’t really seen since.  She’s engaged now – isn’t that crazy?!  Take a look at her profile pictures to see how much she’s changed over the years – but don’t like or comment on any of them, because then she’ll know that you’ve been creeping.

6. Re-watch the episode that you are supposed to be analysing.  Discover that the whole series has been uploaded on YouTube.  Decide that you’d better watch the next couple of episodes, just to make sure that you really understand the context of the story.

7. Once you’ve finished watching the entire season, open Microsoft Word.  Discover that your 30 day trial has expired.  Try deleting Office and reinstalling it [although it probably won’t work, even if you use a different email address].  Download and install OpenOffice.

8. Open up your iTunes library, and try to find yourself a study soundtrack.  Find yourself singing along to “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac.  It’s such a great song.  Did Lindsey Buckingham write it?  Look it up on Wikipedia [yes, he did].  Discover that Biffy Clyro recorded a cover of the song back in 2006.  Search for it on YouTube.  Find their cover of “You’re The One That I Want”.  It’s a bad quality recording, but pretty awesome all the same.

9. Realise that you’ve already eaten all of your “study fuel”.  Walk to 7-Eleven [or the nearest service station/supermarket, if they’re still open] and spend way too much money on overpriced chips and chocolate.  Try to convince yourself that you don’t need a large slurpee because you can never actually finish a big one.

10. After throwing out half a large slurpee, sit back down in front of your computer.  Type your essay title.  Centre it.  Change the font and make it bold.  Then underline it.  Then remove the underline because you think it’s formatting overkill.  Add a header with your name and student number.  Add a footer with page numbers.  Decide that you should probably include the subject name and number in your header.  Look up the subject number in the university handbook.  While you’re there, research electives for next semester.  Film Genres & Media Hybrids looks pretty good.

11. Look up your television series on TV Tropes.  This counts as research.  Find yourself reading about the Public Domain Artifact, and then thinking about that episode of Doctor Who when Rory came back to life as a Roman Auton [“The Pandorica Opens”].  Rory’s the best.  Have you pre-ordered your Rory action figure from the BBC Shop yet?  If not, you’d better do so.

12. It’s been a while since you’ve checked Facebook/Twitter/tumblr/etc.  You’d better do so again.  Maybe write a status about how hard you’re working on this essay.

13. Make yourself a cup of tea.  Add five sugars.

14. Check to see if there are any new comments on your blog.  Check the site stats, and find yourself combing through the search term history [“mother of moffat”, “biffy fan with bicycle” and “britt is fake” are just some of my current favourite searches that have led people here].  In a sudden wave of inspiration, write a whole new post about how to [not] write an essay the night before it is due.

15. Look at the clock.  Realise that you only have five hours before you need to be in class in the morning.  Decide that you’re better off going to sleep.  You can write the essay tomorrow night.  It’ll be worth the late penalty.

So, there you have it: fifteen easy steps to [not] get everything done on time.  Alternatively, you could just ignore everything after step two, and just go meet Robyn at the pub.  Let’s face it, you were never going to actually finish the damn thing tonight anyway.



  • Susanna Marlow
    7 years ago

    Procastination is one of the most common student diseases nowadays! Great article! I do have some input that might come in handy: if you were succesful in not writing the essay and think of hiring someone to do it for you, check for essay writing company reviews before hiring someone that will just make things worse.

  • 7 years ago

    Not handing in your essay on time is one thing, but paying someone else to do it is a completely different kettle of fish. I’m sorry, but I just can’t endorse paying someone else to do your work for you, which is why I’ve removed the links from your comment. A lot of people work really hard to earn their marks, and it’s unfair to ruin the grading curve with a store-bought essay.

  • Philly
    5 years ago

    Well I have a life changing essay for a university that needs to be done and turned in by 12 pm and it’s 1:20 am now so I’ll go to sleep and wake up early. Oh and did I mention I have to drive 1 and 1/2 hours to get to the university?! This is my second time reading this blog on two separate occasions lol.

  • 5 years ago

    Oh dear. Good luck getting your essay done in time. Sorry that this blog post is of absolutely no use to you. Maybe one of these days I’ll get around to actually writing something helpful…

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