Stage 1: Denial
It’s the last week of classes and your life is slowly being sucked out of you (except for the fact that you lost your soul after the first midterm of the semester). There are psets to complete, last-minute midterms to prepare for, performances to attend, and formals to rock. How can you possibly have work beyond this week? Everything until reading period is meaningless, because you are numb from the length of your to-do list and sleep deprivation.
Stage 2: Anger
It’s Wednesday evening and you’re cheering! You made it through classes alive and the end of the semester is in sight. And then you wake up on Thursday morning to boiling rage. How could papers possibly be due when you just got time to breathe? Since suppressing emotions is unhealthy, you release your anger by mistreating your laptop keyboard and glowering at the person who stole your favorite study spot. This stage does not technically end until Primal Scream.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Since pain seems to be a mainstay of our lives for the foreseeable future, you do your best to alleviate it, certainly not by starting to write, but by spamming your teaching fellows. Can I somehow just drop this paper? Could I please have an extension? When they reply with a terse negative, you decide to compromise: you muster all of your strength and write exactly one word on the last page. Consider that page count reached.
Stage 4: Depression
Your feelings have finally moved into the present. This stage usually starts at 6 p.m. on the day of your midnight deadline. You despair at your open, half-finished document, and it seems impossible to meet the page count. Unfortunately, the vending machine in Lamont Cafe is empty by now, so stress eating is not an option. Resignedly, you begin to type.
Stage 5: Acceptance
This stage can begin anytime from when you are halfway through your paper to when you hit submit at 11:59 p.m. It doesn’t mean you feel okay about the franctic past few hours, but you learn to live with the reality of your impending finals.
No matter where you are in the five stages of writing papers, stay strong. Somehow, you will make it through reading period, and somehow this paper will eventually be over. Until then, good luck.