Ode to the Procrastinating Student

Guzzle the coffee, chug a can of energy,

the deadline is just hours away!

Stay awake through the night, alone in the dark,

while your family dreams of summer days.

What happened to promises of time better spent?

Calendars marked and alarms put to use,

spreading out tasks in workable chunks,

to avoid the last minute push, as you do.

Eyes bleary and sore, neck tight and cracking,

fingers numb and wrists ache while you work;

your shoulders get knots, you can’t feel your bum,

no extension from your teacher, the jerk.

The word count is your focus, not spelling or grammar;

she probably won’t even read this, you think.

If I make the font larger, and increase the space —

please don’t let me run out of printer ink!

I’ve been where you are, dear procrastinator,

writing on essays until the light of early dawn.

I know the pressure and the rush of success,

and the pain when you save but your work is gone.

Beware the computer crash: save often, use the Cloud,

and next time, do your work ahead of sched.

The adrenaline’s addicting, the bragging is fun,

but you’re better off using your head.

Remember that kid relaxing, playing games ’cause he’s done?

That could have been you, had you tried!

Instead you’re hunched over, losing sleep, stressing out,

and tomorrow you’re going to be fried.

I appreciate the effort, you’re doing your best,

believe me, I’ll pore over your every sentence.

Think of your teacher with her piles of assignments,

and know that I’m stretching my own patience.

When the sun is hot and the sky is blue,

the last thing we want is to be staring at pages.

We have that in common, pupil of mine,

because summer comes to school in stages.

Denial: there’s lots of time to finish up!

Anger: what happened to the rest of the year?

Bargaining: can’t I have until the very last day?

Depression: this desk will never get clear . . .

Acceptance: I’ve got to get moving and finish the job

or repeat the damned class next semester.

The good news for you, kid, is when you pass, you’re gone,

while I’m still going to be here.

So stay awake and complete what should already be done,

hand the work in, then hit the beach.

Take the break that you’ve earned, even if it’s last-minute,

celebrate the goal that you’ve reached.

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