When Late Marks No Longer Make You Flinch

I often say that it’s a shame the sky didn’t come crashing down the first time I submitted something late, because now I treat deadlines like suggestions.

I should point out that this mentality is exclusively applied to unpaid, non group, school work. (How you doin’ future employers?) Perhaps it’s because in this case the only person I’m really letting down is myself. But that’s a conversation for another time.

Recently, a friend messaged me to ask whether we were supposed to submit an assignment online or in person.

“What assignment?” was my response.

Apparently it was due the day before. Normally, approaching deadlines send me into a mild panic that isn’t strong enough to get me started, but is present enough to colour everything I do that week with the knowledge that I need to get something done. The interesting thing about this deadline was that I hadn’t known it was approaching or present. Period.

In order to procrastinate, you need to be putting a task off completely. In this case, I hadn’t even known there was something to put off. I can’t even say I forgot, because forgetting implies you’d known about the assignment in the first place. (Full disclosure: It’s not that I wasn’t told, I just wasn’t paying attention.) So when I realized how royally I had screwed up, I had to laugh, and the first thing that came to mind was something Donald Rumsfeld said:

“There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

Forgive me. After all, he was using these words to justify the eventual war in Iraq. But anytime I open a test and there’s a question I didn’t even know was in the realm of things I should have studied, or I totally blank on an assignment deadline, Rumsfeld comes to mind and I have to giggle.

It’s a shame that the sky didn’t come crashing down the first time I submitted an assignment late, because now I treat deadlines like suggestions. Once I finished laughing at myself, I sent my friend another message:

“I will not let this alter the course of my day.”

I’d start working on it tomorrow.

Moral of the story: Life’s short. Lose three or four percent.

The student life moral of this story: Don’t beat yourself up if you fall behind. Catch up, and make some adjustments in the future.

THE REAL MORAL OF THIS STORY: I will not be going to law or grad school anytime soon. Do not use me as an academic role model, kids.

10 Things To Finally Get Around To Before the New Year

Set Up the Find My Device Feature on Your Phone

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A lost or stolen phone sucks. A lost or stolen phone with sensitive financial or personal information is awful. If you have an iPhone, activate Find my iPhone so that you can locate your phone or remotely erase everything from another device. It will be expensive replacing a missing smart phone, but it will give you great peace of mind to know your credit card info and nudes are safe. (Unless you’ve been targeted by a malicious tech genius that will mine your device with expert skill. If that’s the case, you have bigger problems.) This service is also available for your Macbook, iPod, or iPad. Google also provides a way to locate Android powered devices.

Back Up Your Phone

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On that note, another stressful part about losing your phone is losing all the valuables it contains like photographs, text messages, and songs. Save yourself the hassle and back up your phone regularly by either using services like the Cloud or manually uploading your phone’s contents to your computer periodically.

 Install A Period Tracker

This isn’t 1998, ladies. Circling the date on your calendar in red marker is cute, but if your alarm clock, mail, and schedule are all on your phone, what makes you think tracking your period with a pen and paper is sustainable – or accurate for that matter? Download a period tracker like Clue (also available on Google Play) and outsource worrying about when to avoid wearing white pants to a handy app.

See Your Doctor About That Thing

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If you have a question about your health or an awkward problem you’ve avoided addressing because you hate uncomfortable situations, go see your family practitioner. That is what they are there for, and I can assure you they’ve either seen or studied worse. I would even suggest writing down your specific concerns because it is natural to feel rushed or silly, and having them on a sheet of paper will help you tackle the issues you came in to address.

Install Software Updates

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Software updates are annoying and we are ungrateful. Their point is to get rid of any bugs, but we keep hitting “Remind Me Tomorrow” because heaven forbid an invitation to improve our computer interrupts us reading “8 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Died”. They will fix issues that you can remain blissfully unaware of and – more relevant to your everyday life – make your computer run faster.

Tidy Up Your Computer Desktop

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Cleaning up your desktop is another easy way to make your computer run faster. All those files you save to your desktop for easy access take up bits of memory and those shortcuts add up! Do yourself a favour and get rid of files you no longer need and move the rest of them to folders for your documents, photos, or downloads. It has the added bonus of leaving you with a filing system that makes it easier to find the items you’re looking for later. Also, it’s much more aesthetically pleasing.

Unsubscribe From All Those Emails

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Sure, at one point you felt proactive about learning a second language or when you were in high school you bought a lot of plaid and sweats, but subscriptions to “One French Word A Day” and Garage’s mailing list are not life sentences. It is time to clean up your inbox – and your life – by unsubscribing to those pesky emails. If it’s too much of a pain to do on your phone, open your computer, click on one of those three thousand emails, scroll to the bottom, and hit unsubscribe. You may be redirected to a second page. Stay focused; they want you to give up. Take a deep breath and click to say, “Yes, I’m sure.”

Put A Deposit On That Experience

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Everyone has something they’d like to do whether it’s to travel, take a music class, or sign up for personal training. Each person’s financial situation is different so this may not be an option for some, but if you have enough money to regularly go out to eat or drink, then you definitely have enough money for these experiences. Sign up for whatever it is you want to try or learn. Think of your phone bill. You don’t need all those features and services, but you want them and you will actively work to ensure you have money to keep them. Financing something you enjoy will quickly fall into the same category as your phone bill. If it’s genuinely something you’re interested in, you’ll be more motivated to go to work to pay for it, and it is sure to bring you more happiness than Canada-wide calling ever did – unless your love interest lives in Iqaluit or something.

Hit Send on “I Miss You”

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I bet most people would rather do everything else on this list twice over than consider this last one, but it’s probably the most important item. What’s the point of all this technology if we can’t use it to communicate with one another? Being vulnerable is terrifying, and it can often end in hurt and disappointment. One thing it shouldn’t be is embarrassing. At the end of your life you’re going to be left with the things you did and didn’t do, and it is easier to deal with rejection than it is to live with coulda, woulda, shoulda. Send a text or an email telling that special person, friend, or family member that you hope all is well and that you miss them. If you like, mention whatever it is that made you think of them. In addition, try to remove any expectations from the act so that the reward lies in your honesty and not their reciprocity. Keep it polite, don’t put them in a position to feel obligated to do anything, and then go on with your life knowing you’re living it truthfully.