The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Procrastination Crawl


Whether honing time-honored skills such as needlepoint or developing a personal specialty such as mermaiding—gluing fake tails onto photos of celebrities so they look like fish—or pouring glitter onto things that had no business sparkling in the first place, I find crafting to be the mode of procrastination least likely to inspire self-loathing. Plus, giving a crafted object to a loved one is a great way to earn cheap brownie points —be sure not to forget Mother’s Day this Sunday. It also provides fun group activity at all levels of sobriety. Crafting earns points for maintaining creative capacities and basic motor skills that tend to atrophy with strenuous academic labor. Minus one point for making my room a perpetually glittery shithole.


Cleaning out my room this week, I uncovered layers of notes and returned homework so thick I felt I was performing significant archaeological work on my semester—practically able to pinpoint the moment my organizational abilities fell into oblivion. I also found packaging for foods the Grilldoesn’t even sell anymore. Though it earns points for not being homework, cleaning is ultimately just a different form of labor and too exhausting to be an ideally rewarding form of procrastination. Earns points for improving my living space and for simplifying the studying process, but loses one for not being fun. Also loses a point for never being finished—now I’m just pulling mildew-smelling clothes out of my laundry bag instead of off of my floor.


I feel like a god on Monday and Tuesday, clever and refreshingly challenged Wednesday and Thursday, and like I’ve wasted my education the rest of the time. This time-waster earns four points for being a quality, self-esteem-boosting procrastination tool during the week and loses one for driving me to take Shots for Shortz on the weekends.

NAPS 5/5

I’m a naturally sleepy person and there are few things as comforting and rewarding as a nap, particularly in the depths of Hell Week. It loses a point for being such a painfully temporary state, but gains it back for existentially demonstrating to us the fleeting nature of pleasure. Also provides a quality conversation topic—here are the eight kinds of naps I catalogued over a recent lunch: the nap in the sun, the drunken nap, the post-all-nighter-nap, the nap with pants on, the couch nap, the inadvertent nap, the scheduled nap, and the public nap. Though this list is hardly comprehensive, I would advise trying at least half over finals week and the other half during Block Party.


The ideal study break combines two key ingredients: a food product not widely available in dorms and a communal experience to restore the thrill of being young, alive and collegiate. Hell Week is rife with such breaks, each its own special kind of star. The most commendable were the nightly 3 a.m. pancake breaks masterfully coordinated by the Grinnell College Christian Fellowship in both Loose and Younker lounges. These events combined the soul-warming deliciousness of both regular and chocolate chip pancakes with restorative commiseration with fellow procrastinators in miserable enough shape to be awake at three in the morning—the lines went out the door. Despite the stellar production of this week’s study breaks, however, a perfect score must be reserved for the greatest study break of all: Block Party.

Internet 4/5

The usual Facebook, Grinnell Plans and obsessive e-mail checking aside, the Internet does wonders for the amount of procrastination possible. Ever heard of This random quiz site may not help you research for your paper, but at least you’ll be able to name every single Keanu Reeves Movie. Another new Grinnellian favorite,, connects you to a completely random person—look around at Joint Board and half your senators are hard at work… on messing with some random person’s mind—in a chat screen. There, you can gripe about all the work you have to do, as your real-life friends are bored of hearing about it.

Grille 3/5

Students that claim they can do work here are kidding themselves. The Grill is the black hole of productivity. You’ve been squirreled away in the library and think hey, there’s always people in the Grill, I’ll take a break and go there. You go for a cup of coffee and a big cookie and them BAM it’s three hours later and you haven’t removed yourself from the faux-mod-pleather seats for so long that you’re unsure if your legs still work. Those damn, dirty Grill-rats have sucked you into their nest of counter-productivity.

Climbing Shit 2/5

When buildings on campus were constructed, they took into account the fact that stir-crazy students love to dangle themselves from dangerous heights on unsuspecting rafters and beams. Prime locations for doing some urbanrock climbing: the elbow of Noyce, the wavy windows in the Grille, scaling the south campus loggia, or any tree anywhere? Points go to the person that can scale the big tree on Mac Field near Cowles.

Listing STUFF 1/5

There is nothing more counter-productive to getting things done than taking time to write them all down. After making a list of the four papers, three take homes, two tests, a need to drink heavily at Block Party. Many simply freak out and think about ways to reorganize your week instead of doing any of the aforementioned work. Inevitably, these lists end up on [grinnell] for all to compare and contrast with everybody else’s lists.

Dance Parties 5/5

Whether you’re a participant in the Flash-Rave phenomenon (sorry James First), or simply love to jam out to Lady Gaga by yourself in the Chemistry Seminar room, releasing energy by shaking your booty is a hell-or finals week must. Stuck on a calc problem? Hating on your bio lab? Bogged down in philosophy reading? Just dance. It’ll be okay.

Doodling 3/5

Though usually doodling is reserved for a strictly classroom setting, during Hell Week and finals week, anything goes. Might as well spice up that physics problem set with dinosaurs destroying the world as we know it. Has Freud popped up in your final film essay? Perfunctory phalluses will set off your thesis nicely. But really, just put your pen on the paper and see where it goes.

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