5 Students share their Nightmare Deadline Experiences

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Have you ever had a deadline horror story? They are the stories that make you cringe and slightly panic inside (even years later!)

This time of year is always stressful when you have deadlines, so how about taking a 2 minute break to enjoy this post. We asked students to share their worst deadline experiences.


Ingrid, 1st year Biomed:

coffee, essay, deadline, student

What was needed: essays, a couple of diagrams and a presentation in the space of three days. THREE DAYS.

It normally takes me two days to write an essay. Three if I haven’t attended or paid close enough attention in the lectures. I happened to be asleep through every relevant lecture that the essays in question were on. Those more gifted in Maths may notice that this meant I had been asked to complete nine days of work in three. Bye-bye life. I have no idea how I completed it, nor how I managed to “go overboard” (one of my tutors refused to mark my work because it was “too long”). But I did. And with the help of copious amounts of coffee and damage to my already-tattered circadian clock, I survived.


Rebecca, 2nd year PPE:

In the second term of my second year, I got the flu. I did no work for four days whilst I was recovering.

That term, I had two essays each week, with deadlines one day apart. I had three days in which to write both those essays. I completed the first essay within a day and a half, so I was on track to finish on time. However, I underestimated both how long the next essay’s reading list was, and how much I procrastinate. I was still reading as the deadline came closer and closer – by the time I’d finished it was only eight hours away. This was about 2am. I then spent the next two hours frantically writing, before falling asleep at my desk.

I woke up a couple of hours later, with only three more hours to finish. At this point I was effectively useless. I managed to limp towards the word count, and sent it off minutes before the deadline. I then slept for the next 14 hours or so.


Jocelyn, 1st year Psychologist:

I had to write up an essay and had left it up to the very day before the deadline because I was busy with another essay – and also because I procrastinated slightly thinking I could manage finishing it within a day, just like I’d managed to the week before. But when I started trying to write the essay I realised the topic was tougher than I thought, and I started panicking as I wrote the essay. By 2am I was only halfway through the essay and that was when I decided to forget it and go to sleep.

Next day I handed it in half-done and pretended I forgot to attach the last page. My tutor only realised a week later that a page was missing.


Tom, 3rd year Biochem:

Once in 1st year I finished my essay at about 4.50pm with a 5pm deadline. I felt very smug at having finished on time, but then realised it was handwritten so I had to cycle up to the faculty building to hand it in. I cycled up there like mad and arrived at 4.58pm to find that they’d locked up 5 minutes early and I’d have to wait until the morning. I sent a long, grovelling email to my tutor apologising for having missed the deadline, then got a reply which made it very clear that she didn’t really mind and I’d definitely overreacted.

Lesson learned: some tutors will mark you down if you’re 30 seconds late handing in and others couldn’t care less!


Corina, 1st year Biologist:

Deadlines are one of the most dreaded moments in university life. Everybody has them and everybody dreads them. My worst one was when I got REALLY sick. I couldn’t and I didn’t want to move out of bed, but I of course had an essay due in two days. I didn’t want to ask for an extension because it wouldn’t make a difference; I just wanted to get it over with. So what I did was wait until the last possible minute – the night before – and manically write the whole thing in 5 hours. The quality of the essay was highly debatable (I did get some not-so-good comments from my tutor to say the least), but the important thing is, I did hand it in in time and it was an OK essay and on topic. The two worst parts I have to admit were the 5-hour-long frenzied writing period which seemed to never end, and the time between me handing in the essay and getting it back marked.

The thing is, it feels like it’s the end of the world but it’s not. Everyone is allowed a bad essay once in a while (at least that’s what I tell myself ;)).


👋Can you relate to any of these horror deadline stories? Share your experiences in the comments below! We’ll be adding the best to this list! 👋


If you enjoyed this blog, have a read of our ‘How to Manage Time Effectively Before Exams!’ blog!
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