Imagine this.

You are sitting in the front row of your last class of the day listening to your professor drone on and on about another dead white guy who wrote some other great classic that you have yet to get your hands on. You could care less about the book. After all you’re still having trouble grasping the meaning of the word, dilettante, a word this dead guy decided to use eight times within the first four pages of his epic novel. 

To keep yourself from dozing off in front of your professor you decide to put your I-phone in your book so that you can secretly text your friend about how bored you are as your peers turn the pages of the arduous novel. Immersed in conversation with your friend (she’s just revealed to you that there’s a sneak peek of the new Michael Jackson movie at the AMC down the street in two hours and Michael has been the object of your every desire since Thriller; you never left his side even through the rumors, you knew the real MJ), you miss the thirty minutes your professor uses to explain to your classmates that a dilettante is a person who loves fine art. 

Frustrated with the last text your friend has sent you (the MJ tickets sold out to the sneak peek within in five minutes of it being announced) you slam your book on your desk, dropping your phone on the floor. Your professor glances at you with a questioning stare. You don’t mind him, he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know that you know it was Michael’s fair-weather fans that bought up all the tickets. Those fans weren’t around when Michael was on trial, as a matter of fact they were the ones screaming he was guilty. You weren’t like them, though. You knew he was innocent.

Bending down to pick up your phone you hear your professor announce that you have to write a fifteen page essay on the significance of the main character of the novel being a dilettante. Not only do you need to describe this significance but your professor also wants you to relate this to the dead white guy who wrote the book that is now causing you such grief. 

You panic.

You’re behind on your reading, you could care less what a dilettante is much less do you feel like looking up the meaning, and you have no idea how to begin this paper. What now?

You glance at your classmate next to you who is vigorously writing in her notebook. She looks up at you and smiles, telling you how excited she is about this assignment. She’s been taking copious notes during your class discussions writing down not only comments made by the professor but also comments by your peers. Not only has she done this, but to further help herself she reveals to you that while reading the book for class she wrote down quotes she found interesting and looked up words she was having difficulty understanding. Because she has done all of this preliminary research for the assignment she can’t wait to start her paper.

You grunt at her. She’ll probably get the first draft of her paper done within an hour or two. You like the fact that your own process usually begins seven at night and ends with the sun rising the next morning.

You decide to go stand outside the sneak preview of the new MJ movie to see if you can dupe someone into giving you their tickets. You need to be at this showing, you are his biggest fan, his truest fan. At the same time you’re on your quest, your classmate is in her dorm room happily typing her paper. 

Have you learned your lesson? Not yet. But two weeks later, you’ll be searching your brain for some inspiration that just might have come to you faster if you had paid attention. Perhaps the next time your class meets, you will take notes so that you, too, can be excited when your professor doles out an extensive assignment.


Jeanine Pounds is a junior at Agnes Scott College with a major in English Literature Creative Writing and a minor in Classics. She's a tutor at the Writing Center

What you get by reaching your destination isn't nearly as important as what you become by reaching your goals - what you will become is the winner you were born to be!


Leave a Reply.