Evening due dates lack justice

By Lucas Oswald, Columnist

I can’t be the only one that’s been there. That mad scramble at 11:45 p.m. to wrap up the concluding paragraph for that essay due at 11:59. You know, the one you told yourself would be done a week in advance? The one you started in a caffeine-induced haze four hours before it was due? The one you don’t even remember writing half of? Any of this sound familiar?

The culprit behind this frenzy: the evening due date. Had the essay or assignment been due the next morning, you can bet your pants it would have been completed without nearly as much stress.

That late night due date might look good on paper, but it’s a trap. One that can catch the unsuspecting college student in jaws of steel. It provides you with a false sense of security, making it seem like you have all the time in the world.

Think about this: Your paper is due Monday a minute before midnight. Sunday night, you sit down at your desk, fully prepared to knock this assignment out before tomorrow. You’re confident, you’ve got this, and you’ve got time.

Seven words into the essay you decide that you need a different word for “makes.” So, like any logical person, you open an internet browser and type into the search bar “synonyms for makes.” You click on Thesaurus.com and up pops 15 separate variations. As you scroll through your options, you notice an advertisement for Walgreens. Uh oh.

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That reminds you, you’ve been wanting to buy an umbrella on Amazon. You open another tab and bring up Amazon’s homepage. You’re about to search for rain gear when the electronics section catches your eye. Those new Beats are gorgeous. Just as you’re about to click on them, you remember: your essay.

And then you think, you’ve got time, another whole day in fact, the assignment isn’t due until midnight tomorrow. So you indulge your instincts and you click on the headphones. You want to know more about them, so you look up reviews on YouTube. And just like that you’re watching a video of kittens wrestling and it’s two in the morning.

Crap. Well, you think, you have the whole day to do it tomorrow, and you get ready for bed.

But really, by the time you finish classes and eat dinner the next day, it’s six in the evening. The time that you thought you had was swallowed by the procrastination fostered by the evening due date. If the paper had been due at 8:00 a.m., for instance, there’s no way you would have let yourself spiral into the vortex of YouTube.

Also, with a morning due date, students become incentivized to finish the assignment early. The quicker she finishes, the quicker she may go to sleep. When something is due in the evening, this impetus vanishes. No matter how efficiently the student works, a 9:00 p.m. cutoff won’t allow sleep to become a motivational carrot on a stick.

Some may argue evening due dates ensure that students don’t sacrifice sleep to complete an assignment. While this is true, it is often in the best interest of students’ grades to have the option of cutting into their time allotted for sleep to perfect a paper. This safety buffer of time between the due date and sleep eases stress as students lose the pressure of time.

Alright, professors, the rest is up to you. Next time you’re tempted to set that 11:00 p.m. cutoff, just move it to 8:00 a.m. the next morning. Take some of the stress out of the lives of your pupils.

Lucas is a junior in LAS.

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