1. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair, in a well lit place, with plenty of freshly sharpened pencils.
2. Check your email.
3. Read over the assignment carefully, to make certain you understand.
4. Walk down to the vending machines and buy some coffee to help you concentrate.
5. Check your email.
6. Stop off at another floor on the way back, and visit with your friend from class. If your friend hasn’t started the paper yet either, you can both walk to McDonalds and buy a hamburger to help you concentrate. If your friend shows you her paper, typed, double-spaced, and bound in one of those irritating see-thru plastic folders, drop her.
7. When you get back to your room, sit in a straight, comfortable chair, in a clean, well lit place, with plenty of freshly sharpened pencils.
8. Read over the assignment again to make absolutely certain you understand it.
9. Check your email.
10. You know, you haven’t written to that kid you met at camp since fourth grade. You’d better write that letter now and get it out of the way so you can concentrate.
11. Look at your teeth in the bathroom mirror.
12. Listen to one side of your favorite tape and that’s it. I mean it, as soon as it’s over you are going to start that paper.
13. Listen to the other side.
14. Check your email.
15. Rearrange all of your CDs into alphabetical order.
16. Phone your friend on the other floor and ask if he’s started writing yet. Exchange derogatory remarks about your teacher, the course, the college, the world at large.
17. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lit place, with plenty of freshly sharpened pencils.
18. Make yourself a power snack.
19. Check your email.
20. Check the newspaper listings to make sure you aren’t missing something truly worthwhile on TV. NOTE: When you have a paper due in less than 12 hours, anything on TV from Masterpiece Theater to Sgt. Preston of the Yukon is truly worthwhile, with these exceptions: a) Pro Bowlers Tour b) any news report involving the President.
21. Catch the last hour of Soul Brother of Kung Fu on Channel 26.
22. Phone your friend on the third floor to see if he was watching. Discuss the finer points of the plot.
23. Check your email.
24. Look at your tongue in the bathroom mirror.
25. Look through your roommate’s book of pictures from home. Ask how everyone is.
26. Sit down and do some serious thinking about your plans for the future.
27. Open your door and check to see if there are any mysterious, trench coated strangers lurking in the hall.
28. Check your email.
29. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lit place, with plenty of freshly sharpened pencils.
30. Read over the assignment one more time, just for the heck of it.
31. Scoot your chair across the room to the window and watch the sunrise.
32. Lie face down on the floor and groan.
33. Check your email.
34. Leap up and write the paper.
35. Type the paper, and while you’re at it, check your email.
36. Complain to everyone that you didn’t get any sleep because you had to write that damn paper.