Panicking doesn’t get you anywhere fast, but it is not as though you have any control over your state of mind when you’re in a panic. Once panic has overwhelmed you, it can be tough to calm down and keep things in perspective. It may be that you have an essay that is due to be handed in very shortly, for instance. You know you should have started it earlier, but you kept putting it off and now find yourself with a day or two to take notes, make a plan and write the essay. This is when you really need to focus and avoid all distractions, but panic seems to make this impossible.
The ideal way to avoid panicking when you have an essay due would be to make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to do it. If you know you have a month to write an essay you have time to get all the reading and note-taking done so that when it comes to writing the actual essay you can take your time and make all the adjustments you need. If you have a habit of procrastinating or you’ve been catching up on other work you should have done and haven’t been able to start your essay, you obviously need to get cracking on it.
The main problem when you leave an essay until the last minute is finding all the books you need. When there are hundreds of students studying the same subject and writing similar types of essays, quite a few of the same books are going to be in demand, which makes it difficult for you to do anything when you can’t access them because they’re not in the library and you are unable to use quotes from famous works. However, usually in a university library there will be a short-loan collection where books can only be taken out for a few hours or a day at a time and you may be able to find something there. Plus, there are also online journals which may throw up some interesting information.
It is generally the preparation involved in writing an essay that takes longest, so that actually sitting down to write it isn’t so tough. However, if you find yourself with a couple of hours before the deadline, you’re probably not going to do a very good job of it. Sometimes, it is worth asking for an extension if you know it’s going to be a real struggle to get your essay completed on time. You may be penalised for this, but you have to weigh up whether the essay would be improved enough to make it worthwhile handing in your essay late.
If you think you could do a better job with more time then perhaps you should go ahead, especially if this enables you to avoid panicking and handing in a half-finished essay that isn’t very good. If you find yourself in the position of rushing an essay, you should remember the sense of panic that you experienced the next time you consider procrastinating!