WOULD YOU RATHER:Handling your assignments

Julieann T. Randall, Jamaica-born author, signs a copy of her book for Jersham Tomlinson (centre) and his brother, Liam Simpson, during a book signing and reading at the Kingston Bookshop in the Springs Plaza on Saturday, January 25.

Kajamba Fitz-Henley CONTRIBUTOR

A lot of us could safely call assignments the bane of our existence but, of course, the key to managing them is preparation, prioritising, and time management. Even then, though, assignments can still be hard, especially when circumstances are complicated. Here are some situations to examine to help you adjust your time-management skills to make assignments less painful.

You were sick at home for two weeks. You only have two days to do an assignment, while other students who were placed in groups would have gotten two weeks to get it done. The teacher refuses to give you an extension, as you were not able to provide a medical slip stating that it was indeed illness that caused you to miss school. The assignment requires you to perform research by coming up with a problem, administering a survey at school, then tabulate, analyse and discuss the results. It’s a lot of work that, realistically, you don’t think you can do by yourself in two days while you also have two other essays to do. However, the only alternative is to work with a student who was also absent, as all the other groups are full. You’ve worked with the student before and he or she turned in poor work at the last minute, causing you to get a horrible grade. He or she claims that it will be better this time.

• Work with him/her and risk having your partner do poor work? (20%)
• Try and do the assignment by yourself in two days and risk not finishing? (80%)

• “I couldn’t manage that stress by myself. I would take all the help available.” (Ziana, 13)
• “Anytime I can avoid group work, it’s a good thing. It would just have to work out.” (Tishanne, 17)

The very strict vice-principal (VP) is also your history teacher. While he or she was absent from class one day, your class was punished for causing major noise disturbance on the block. Word of the disturbance got to the VP. As extra punishment, he or she assigned an essay of 1,500 words about the factors contributing to independence – due the following day.

However, you were half hour late for class that day and were not present when the actual disturbance took place. Thus, you feel that you should not have to write the essay, especially because you do not have a computer to type it out overnight. You want to go and explain this to the VP, but you fear you will get even more punishment for being late.


• Go and plead your case to the VP? (30%)
• Find some other way to write the 1,500-word essay overnight? (70%)

• “I hate getting punishment for no reason, so, yes, I’d have to go and speak with the vice-principal.” (Sharese, 18)
• “Sigh. In those situations, I’ve found it’s honestly better to just do it.”(Aliyah, 19)

Art is your absolutely worst subject. You don’t find yourself artistically competent at all. Despite this, your were forced to do the subject and take the exam. After the exam, you are almost sure you failed it. For students who feel like they did not do well, there is an extra credit assignment to create a mini sculpture showing the likeness to any celebrity of your choice. Sculptures are extremely hard and there is no way you think you can do one. However, if you fail a subject, you won’t be able to go on the planned trip to New York for Christmas vacation. You’ve always wanted to go to New York.


• Work hard on the sculpture and be allowed to go on the trip? (70%)
• Hope you didn’t fail the exam and risk not going on he trip? (30%)

• “An attempt at a sculpture seems worth a guaranteed trip to New York.” (Nikel, 17)
• “Hope and pray I didn’t fail.” (Jira, 14)

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