It was an exceptionally busy day Wednesday: I had two classes, rehearsal for improv and a film screening. On top of all of that, I had a looming 5-6 page sociology essay that was due promptly at 1:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Luckily, I found time in a break in my schedule around noon to craft the bare bones of my introduction. Unfortunately, I was not able to continue my paper until 9:10 p.m. when I returned to the library after my film screening. This is when the bulk of my work began and I started to understand that the only way this paper would get done was with caffeine, motivation and a little help from my friends.

In my Race/Gender in the Mass Media class, I know a lot of the people simply because at a school like Conn you recognize the majority of the faces you see on a daily basis. However, I happen to have two very close friends in the class as well, which makes learning a lot more fun. My friends Jade and Rory were in a similar predicament about writing this essay. We were all racing against the clock to finish our assignment. The essay topic was about connecting messages in the mass media to grand theory concepts we discussed in class. Everyone had to choose their own three pieces of media to focus on, which was not as easy as just picking your favorite TV show, movie, or song.

In fact, this was a particularly large problem for Rory as the clock struck midnight in Shain Library on Wednesday evening. I was typing away about Justin Timberlake’s music; Jade was writing about “The Office;” and Rory was still bouncing ideas off of us. It was distracting but also a nice break from the strenuous assignment I had in front of me. Rory was struggling with the assignment because he approached it in an atypical way: he developed his arguments before he found his pieces of media. Rory continued to publicly muse over pieces of media that would match up with his ideas until I suddenly remembered that he had taken an English course focused on the work of Bob Dylan last semester. I told him that he should just do Bob Dylan and I saw a light bulb appear directly above his head. A switch in his mind immediately flipped as his face contorted into one of deep thought and he (finally) knew what his paper was going to be about.

Around 1:15 a.m. Jade decided she had reached her point of exhaustion. She left the library for the night and Rory was not long behind her. I stayed longer because I made a promise to myself that I was not sleeping until this paper was finished. As the clock inched toward 2 a.m., when Shain’s doors close for the night, I rushed to get all of my references cited “to a T” (as requested by my professor) in American Sociological Association format. I finished my last one at 1:59 a.m. and grinned from ear-to-ear as the bulk of my efforts were largely behind me.

The next morning, I met with Jade and Rory in the library to go over our essays once more before handing them in online. We knew the fruits of our labor had to come to an end but we couldn’t fathom that this strenuous assignment was over. We handed our papers in and collectively realized the rest of our essays for this course would be written in a similar, neurotic fashion.