But That’s Just My Opinion: Deadlines

By Michael Lutz '16, Opinion Editor

Deadlines. What are they? A line that is dead? Is that even possible? Perhaps they are a line that if crossed will result in your untimely demise. Historically that is not far from the truth. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a deadline is “a line drawn around a prison beyond which prisoners were liable to be shot.” That’s pretty intense. But I digress. We all know what deadlines are and we all have them. Theoretically we should all be doing our best to meet those deadlines. However, when there are no repercussions for not meeting a deadline then what’s the point of the deadline in the first place? Additionally if we violate a deadline and face no repercussions then we are more likely to violate that deadline if it reappears in the future. Essentially the deadline is no longer a deadline, it is a mere point of time reference like the sun rising or moon setting.

So it would appear that deadlines only have an effect when there are negative consequences from violating them. These negative consequences need to be harsh and effective, to ensure that people will not want to suffer them. But what are we to do? We don’t like hurting people on purpose, unless we’re some sort of psychopath. So we don’t like to hurt people or their feelings. This results in us losing authority, being seen as weak, or becoming what is referred to as a “pushover.”

Sometimes, strangely enough, being a pushover can make people like you more. Think about it, nobody likes the authoritative dictator of a professor whose deadlines are set in the stone. The professor where even if hell freezes over your paper will still be due on Monday. I don’t particularly care for professors like that but I would be lying if I said I didn’t respect them. Other professors can be complete pushovers and we all love them. The professor who knows you slept in late and missed the test but will still let you make it up. Or the professor who gives you an extension on a paper because you caught a little cold. We love these professors, but we don’t really respect them.

Then there are professors who fall into the middle. They budge a little on deadlines if given good reason [like Dolphy Day] but generally they are pretty good with punishing those who fail to meet the deadlines. I feel like a lot of professors fall into this happy medium and I think they deserve more respect than they receive. It’s not easy to maintain your authority while at the same time being understanding of extraneous circumstances outside of a student’s control.

Anyway the point being that there are two types of deadlines. Those we know we have to meet and those we know we can miss by a little bit. So long as the work gets done right? Wrong. Even when you miss those deadlines that have no negative consequences on you it may affect others or the person who set the deadline in the first place. So it’s important that we strive to meet deadlines, but that’s just my opinion.