The AP Euro Review: a journey in procrastination


Shannon O'Connor

Staff writer Emily Pirkl struggles through the perils of her AP Euro assignments.

It’s 11:09 p.m. (nine minutes after my self-imposed bedtime) and I’m far from snuggling under my flannel bed sheets. By the looks of it, I will be violating my own rule for the fifth night in a row, and, judging by my track record, this won’t be the last time.

I’m on Tumblr, of course. Or, at least, I was. Then I clicked on link for a YouTube video claiming to be the funniest Vine compilation ever. Thirty-two seconds in, I realized that nearly five minutes had passed since I last checked Facebook. I then paused the video, typed “f” into the address bar, and pressed enter. Nothing but a few cringe-worthy selfies. Back to Tumblr.

Meanwhile, lurking beneath the myriad of windows and applications I have open is a Word document. It contains forty questions on the topic of Romanticism and the Industrial Revolution, of which I know approximately nothing about. It’s due tomorrow morning at 8, and I’ll be tested on the questions shortly thereafter… but I’m still operating under the pretense that it doesn’t exist.

Just under eight hours ago, I strode across the threshold of the back door, telling myself I would hit the books immediately after taking a power nap. I also vowed that I would stay away from the cookie jar. I kept neither promise.

After my catnap, I flipped up the lid of my laptop and cracked open my AP Euro textbook- whose innards hadn’t seen the light of day since the demise of my last Tamagotchi.

Question 1: “Evaluate the social, economic, and political effects of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, Germany, and France. A simple flowchart would work here.”

How about a simple no-chart? Discouraged, I toddled downstairs to reward myself with a month-old Christmas cookie (conveniently “forgetting” my pledge––how else was I supposed to evade the hours of agony that lay ahead?) The stale cookie with hardened green frosting by no means curbed my hunger, but it certainly kept me away from that repulsive review, if only for a few moments.

Back at my desk, I noticed that it’d been a while since I dusted––at least two reviews ago. I certainly didn’t want to be sharing my study space with my own dead skin cells, so I gave the surface an overly thorough swipe with my faithful feather duster. Much better. Although… my spotless study space now clashed with the borderline offensive layer of dust that covered the rest of my room. I figured I’d better dust it as well.

Dusting the bottom ledge of my bookshelf, I found bits of pink fuzz on my carpet––likely from those socks I got from my Grandma. Such atrocities were not tolerated in my room, so I meticulously picked up every fleck of dirt from around the bookshelf by hand. And then I caved and rolled out the vacuum cleaner.

By dinnertime there was nothing left in my room to be cleaned, which left me no choice but to work on… catching up on Buzzfeed articles. And doing some online shopping (it’s never too early to look for a prom dress, right?) And trying to perfect my British accent (hey, at least that’s somewhat related to Europe). Before I knew it, fatigue set in, and, looking at the clock, I saw that it was 11:11 pm.

The realization hit me like Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball. I had been “working” on the review for the past eight hours, and yet I still had 40 out of 40 questions to answer. After a brief existential crisis, I closed all of my tabs and started working on the review. By the time I finished, my mom was already waking up for her morning aerobics routine, and I was ready to defenestrate myself. I decided to allow myself to sleep in until 7:25 (giving me a whopping 2.5 hours of sleep, 10 minutes to dress myself, and all the time in the world to get judged by my mother for not showering).

All for what? A 75-point test that I was now destined to fail? I looked in the mirror and saw the face of failure, feeling more disappointment than when I look at my seventh grade yearbook.

I still had to actually turn in that wretched review via Haiku. Half asleep, I logged in and clicked on the AP European History page. My drooping eyelids jerked open when I noticed a message, written in bold, on the class homepage. It read: “Due to the cold weather days, the test scheduled for tomorrow has been moved to next Monday. Be ready to work on the review tomorrow in class!”