Risk or Responsibility?

Do you take risks when faced with important decisions?  Do you push things to one side and let random excitement take hold and stress you out?

Perhaps you think you only take an occasional gamble. But you may be more of a risk taker than you think.

photo by anarchosyn

photo by anarchosyn

It doesn’t sound like much, but think how tempting it is to leave an essay until the last minute.  Rather than prepare in advance, there’s a want to bash everything out in the last minute.  You may not really *want* to do everything in the last minute, but the beast of procrastination rears its ugly head and that’s what happens anyway.

What of study plans?  Before the work starts, a plan can seem so structured and restricting.  Surely you’ll get the work done eventually.  You’ve done it before that way.  Much better to work when you feel like it, eh?

Keep those fingers crossed that you’ll get that feeling every time.

Of course, you will feel like it, because you’ll have no choice. Time will have run out. Panic is often a big driver of decisions.

Shame those decisions aren’t likely to be the best ones.

Many choices may not feel risky, but there’s a real chance they will make a negative impact.

Making plans straight away does involve taking responsibility.  But this is a low risk, positive action.  Responsibility sounds like a hassle, because you know you have to start.  And the end is so, so far away.  At least, it’s so far away until there’s not enough time.  Then the game changes and it’s out of your control…

The sooner you start, the sooner you can finish in your own sweet time.  No rushing, no major panic, no second rate attempt that you know could have been better.

You don’t have to jump on tasks the moment you get them, but neither should they be left to linger.

Advice like this isn’t unusual.  That doesn’t make it any easier to action.  Not until you give it a context.  As I see it, that context is risk.  The longer you leave it, the bigger the chance you’re taking.  Risks don’t have to sound risky before they become dangerous.

Are you willing to gamble with grades?


  1. I used to be the risk taker, leaving assignments until the very last minute – I loved the excitement of racing to hand an assignment in at last minute.

    Then one day I realized my marks got drastically better if I simply started doing assignments in advance. Suffice it to say, I changed my approach very quickly.

  2. well it is really a problem we like to take risk , actually it is the last moment adrenalin rush and perhaps it is addictive but it does affect our efficiency and definitely gives us lower grades than what we are capable of it.

  3. The biggest risk of last minute writing is not proof reading. The first completion of ANY piece of writing is nothing more than a draft. To be reasonable it requires tweaking, fine tuning and restructuring. If you can’t read the document end to end in one sitting, don’t expect the person grading it to think it is worthy of any more than a pass. It needs to set the context well early, define what it is about, then introduce BOTH SIDES of the topic and flo. In a logical order with appropriate engaging language (backed up with a bLance of quality references in support).

    A final FULL reading will highlight if you have achieved this. Last minute construction= big risk. Not proof reading is FATAL!

  4. Justin & Vikas, I think you’re both right that there is an element of desire in getting that rush of satisfaction and adrenalin. Yet there’s also the panic and lack of control taking place in a similar way.

    I wonder if some students get used to the feeling and recreate what they have become used to. That’s why I decided to title the post ‘Risk or responsibility?’ because risk can still be a choice over and above procrastination and other non-deliberate waits until you reach the deadline.

    As you both agree, even if we love a risk, the quality of what we produce is unlikely to be worthy of quite so much love. Sadly!

    Arthur, I agree with you. Most of the quality deficit comes from your work only being an initial draft. I hear from students who are confused that they never reach higher marks from their work and it’s not unusual to find a reliance on the first draft as the final draft.

    I have been directly asked how some people seem to manage amazing pieces of writing first time. The answer, as you’ll know, is that those individuals aren’t amazing first time!

    Just goes to show how all the tweaking, fine tuning and restructuring can go a long way. More important than the writing itself, some might say.

    Thanks for all your comments!

  5. I can only suggest students change their measures from time based to quality based. Assessment is not quantity in time but the quality of what you have learnt and how much you understand how to apply it. If the research was shallow and runshed, the learning is diminished and the memory of it later fuzzy. This means it is unlikely you will be able to effectively use the experience in a practical manner later.

    Soon that basis, what gave you paid your fees for? You may well get the piece of paper scraping together passes, but you will not be a competent professional. Return on Investment from tbe education is therefore much lower. The focus on your education should be increasing your capabilities, not getting through a series of assessment tasks. If you bought a car that did not have wheels, you would feel ripped off. So why buy an education without capabilities? Your lack of dedication and effort is ripping yourself off. Invest in your education for the capability and future return in enhanced performance, not the (basically useless on it’s own) piece of paper.

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