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Procrastination and The New York Times

October 22, 2012   

I tend to overextend my schedule; it has become incredibly difficult to fit everything in lately.  Schoolwork is important of course, as is debate practice, cross country practice, and my job with Media Relations.  These journal updates are a priority as well, along with a healthy handful of guest speakers I want to see, and my friends.  My life at Hamilton follows that old adage, “so much to do, so little time.”

And yet, for the past few weeks, I have given in to that common mid-semester temptation—procrastination.  Aside from Macklemore’s debut album, I have been sidetracked by the constant stream of news buzzing in from the outside world.  A digital newspaper lands each morning in my email and I cannot help but look inside.  My thoughts are pulled off the Hill.

But how can I concentrate on schoolwork when our country is in the middle of a presidential campaign? 

The New York Times and The New Yorker are the key facilitators of both my political insight and school day distraction.  There are the op-ed contributors I follow regularly, particularly the Times’ David Brooks and Thomas Friedman, and the New Yorker’s John Cassidy.  Speaking of which, Cassidy just updated his electoral map; maybe I'll glance it over before I continue writing....

These news updates would not be a problem if I could take in just one article, at most 10 minutes of reading if not a feature.  But, like eating a box of candy, I never stop at one.  I think, “well one more won’t hurt,” and then, “I wonder how this compares to….”  Suddenly, I’ve read half the paper and two minutes to get to class.

My parents gave me a digital New York Times subscription as a gift, to encourage intellectual curiosity.  As it happens, they were fueling my biggest school day distraction.  My schedule is already booked solid; adding in a few hours a day to read the paper certainly does not help.