Most college students have had at least two or more assignments due on the same day. This makes it increasingly difficult for students to get work done on time, especially with other classes, extracurricular activities, work, and life in general. However, as a college student, you come to expect that after one assignment is finished, another one is due.
While some may argue that this is an unfair reality and professors should take this into consideration when planning their semester, this is simply unrealistic to ask of them. If professors had to work around all their students’ schedules, they would never find a day to assign any work.
Let us consider a scenario involving a student majoring in English and two minors, biology and art.
Naturally, this student is taking five classes this semester, which include two writing-intensive classes, a reading intensive course, a painting class, and a biology lab.
Now, as the semester goes on, this student ends up having a paper, a close reading assignment, a painting project, and a biology quiz all due on the same day. Since this student has classes in multiple departments, the likelihood of professors communicating between each other to produce a schedule that would make life easier for this student is little to none.
Now, what if there was another student, also majoring in English, but has a single minor in professional writing. Recognizing that this individual’s classes are all likely from the English department, professors might have an easier time coordinating with one another.
Although somewhat easier of a feat, the responsibility to plan accordingly should not fall on the professors.
Ashley Zingillioglu, a junior English creative writing student, disagreed, “I believe professors should be in open communication with one another, especially when giving out long term projects, such as essays. When it comes to these things, quality is of the utmost importance. If students feel rushed to complete the work [assigned], then they are more likely to not turn in a well written paper – especially when juggling with other assignments.”
The best way for students to adjust is to invest in a planner or use a scheduling application that helps track assignment due dates. Personally, I like to write due dates in a physical planner, since I have made a habit of looking at it every day.
If you are someone who uses their computer for everything, Microsoft Outlook has a built-in scheduling application you can use. It has all the days of the week listed along with the times. You can look at your syllabuses for your classes and list when the due dates are. If you want to keep the best track of assignments, schedule time to put aside to do the assignments.
Apart from scheduling, you can start with easier or more exciting assignments. Zingillioglu suggested, “I usually do the assignment that compels me the most. A thought-provoking essay question or a creative writing assignment is likely to get me excited. I would probably respond in depth with those assignments the most, so I make sure to set a period of time to complete them.”
Zingillioglu also said that for assignments with boring prompts, she does them last- or sometimes, she doesn’t do them at all.
I do not encourage skipping assignments just because you don’t see their value; nonetheless, getting the “easier” assignments out of the way can make you feel more motivated to get those less interesting assignments out of the way.
Worst comes to worst, most professors are more than willing to give you an extension on assignments. I don’t mean ask for an extension the day the assignment is due; rather, you should reach out at least a few days in advance.
If a professor does not agree on an extension, then complete the assignment to the best of your abilities. If you must, turn it in incomplete or a day or two late. Some credit is better than none.
Like students, professors already have a lot on their plates. They should not be responsible to coordinate your deadlines. Instead, find an organizational tool that can help you pace your work, and, if you need it, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension.