I'm in the process of writing my first-ever term paper as a grad student. As a so-called mature student, you'd expect that I would have enough self-confidence that this would not be totally freaking me out, but you would be wrong, my friend.
You'd also think I'd have learned something from my undergrad degree. In those days, I would procrastinate writing my paper or studying for my exam until the ultimate last minute, usually 9 p.m. the night before it was due, work myself up into a frenzy, beating myself up for leaving the assignment/studying so long, freaking out because I didn't know what to write about, and that I didn't have enough time to do a good job, crying my head off because I felt stupid, feeling like a fraud and worrying that this assignment/test would show the world what a failure I was. See, we just thought she was smart - silly us. We now know the truth: Savia ain't so savvy. After turning myself into a sobbing mess, I would dry my face, drag myself off my bed, and force myself to write the damn thing already. At about 3 a.m., I'd crash for a few hours, then wake up at 7 a.m. to edit and finish the final draft.
By the end of my first degree, I had mostly figured out that this was not a healthy way to go about things. Sure, the job got done and I ended up with mostly As, but I was likely doing all kinds of damage to my fragile little psyche.
Flash forward to present time. My assignment is due tomorrow. I had all weekend to work on it, but was down and out with that flu/cold that's been going around. I didn't sleep at all on Saturday night, and by Sunday was a total wreck. The fact that I hadn't yet started my 15-page paper totally freaked me out, yet I felt sick and unmotivated to work on it. This led to a sobbing fit where I beat myself up for leaving it to the last minute, questioned whether I even belonged in grad school, wondered if I had a thesis that made any sense and enough ideas to fill 15-pages, and thought about asking my prof for an extension, but then freaked out about the possibility that he wouldn't give me one and then I'd flunk the class and I'd flunk out of grad school and that would be all the proof that the world needed to expose me as a total and complete fraud.
I looked at the clock and said to myself, "Okay, Savia, you drama queen, you have until 4:30 to cry, and then you're going to get off this couch and go write the damn paper already. If you need to cry while you're writing the stupid-ass paper, you can bring some tissues and wrap the keyboard in plastic wrap or something, but you're getting it done." So, I sobbed until 4:30 on the dot, and forced myself to write. I actually got half of the paper done as a result. The rest gets completed tonight.
So, not much has changed in the last 12 years. The only difference is that it happened a day earlier. See, I have made progress after all.