A funny thing happens on college campuses this time of year, college professor suddenly become much more gregarious, hanging out in each others’ offices or gathering in clumps in the hallway. It’s a great way to avoid grading. My wife, who works on our campus, just told me that her boss said, “I’ve done everything else I needed to do, I can’t avoid grading anymore,” then proceeded to walk down to a colleague’s office and start chatting. The antipathy of college profs to grading, and their consequent procrastination is, I think, amusing as all hell. I’m as bad as any of them. I’ve had nothing really to do this week so far except grade papers (I gave two take-home finals and my only in-class final is Thursday), and I know darn well that getting those papers out of the way before I get a stack of exams will make my life better; yet I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve gotten all kinds of other little tasks taken care of*, so my procrastination isn’t totally worthless. But much of it is, at least on the productivity level. But psychologically and emotionally, it’s also nice to kick back for a couple of days before starting the final grind. Anyway, here’s the best article I’ve ever read on procrastination.
*Finally compiling those receipts the business office has been bugging me for; viewing the Walt Disney film, “Our Friend, the Atom,” for the Atomic Weapons and Power class I’m teaching in the fall; reading a book on proliferation to see if I want to assign it for that class; reviewing a friend’s manuscript for a journal article; speaking with next fall’s senior seminar students to explain that they need to figure out their project and start reading for it over the summer; etc.