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Daily Prompt: Undo – Smash the Clock!

Daily Prompt: Undo | The Daily Post.

If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

I would get rid of the clock. It drives me crazy, especially when it imposes deadlines. I can’t deposit my check because the bank closes at 5. I have to be in class at 5:30 or I’m late – I’ve experienced so much anxiety and self-hatred from that! The best is when something has to be completed by 11:59:59 pm – 1 second can be the difference between success and failure.

Right now I’m feeling depressed and paralyzed because I’m supposed to hand in a hard copy of an essay for my 5:30 Thursday class. I forgot about the essay and didn’t have a chance to work on it while moving over the weekend. If I’d thought ahead a bit I could have informed the instructor of the scheduling conflict ahead of time, as required in the syllabus, but of course I didn’t do that! I was too stressed out by the move, other school-related stuff, etc.

Now I feel guilty and uncertain: should I show up for class late and empty handed? Is it better not to go at all? When should I email the instructor? Is it fair to ask her to meet me on campus so I can hand in a hard copy as requested? Or to send it electronically when everyone else had to print it out? I don’t mind the penalty to the grade for handing it in late – I’d rather receive a lower grade for a better essay than avoid the penalty by handing in something I’ve rushed and am not proud of. But I don’t want to allow enough time to pass for that penalty to get very high, and I feel guilty anxious about how she might react to my confession / explanation / excuse / request that she still accept the assignment!

And there’s the clock, tick-tocking away, mercilessly adding to the stress every second, every minute, every hour of every day. I just want it to stop! If the clock didn’t exist then the paper would be due “sometime around sunset” and I could probably get it done on time. No one would know precisely which minute I walked in through the door; getting to class “in the evening” would suffice. I could deposit my check “during the day” which is now because the sun hasn’t set yet (yay longer days!). Etc.

I know we need some way to keep track of time and to hold people accountable, both for working the hours they’re being paid to work, and for paying employees for their time! My instructor, classmates, and I might all have different ideas about when “the evening” is, making it nearly impossible for us to meet at the same time. Without some kind of deadline I’d never get anything done. And so on and so on. They’re not perfect, but clocks are a working solution to those problems.

I just hate having my life broken down into increasingly minute portions of time, measured and regulated. I get too stressed as a result. It isn’t how my body seems to function. I wish we had a more flexible means of tracking time, determining when a task needs to be completed, etc.

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2 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Undo – Smash the Clock!

  1. I have been in this situation so many times 😦 It really sucks. Nothing is worse than someone asking you in class, “How are you going with that essay?” and you’re like “Umm.. what essay?!”

    I’m not sure what your school’s policy is regarding submissions, but my experience has always been that lecturers are on the whole, extremely understanding and flexible and willing to work with you – because they want you to succeed and pass their course. Being as honest as you can about your struggles, as early on as you can, has worked best for me. That said, it’s always hardest to face these things when you are at a real low 😦 I think academics are understanding in these situations because they often have faced or do experience mental illness themselves. They are not so different from us 🙂

    Good luck! I hope you have managed to hand something in that you are happy with 🙂

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  2. Thanks, Monika. I’m happy to say that I was able to hand in an essay I am proud of. The instructor accepted the submission via email. I’m used to instructors each having their own policy regarding late submissions, usually explained clearly in the course syllabus. This instructor was understanding but kept to her policy: 5% off for every day late. Based on my confidence in my research and writing and the number of days it was late (3) I expect I should still be able to get a B. I consider that a success, considering what I’ve been struggling with. 🙂

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