The Joys of Procrastibaking
Since the dawn of legal education, or sometime shortly thereafter, law students discovered procrastination baking, or ‘procrastibaking’. It’s a popular pursuit because if you’re going to spend time away from the books, you may as well have something cool (and edible) to show for it.
So it’s the last week of classes and I’m asking myself questions like ‘Why am I a more attentive student on Pottermore (go Ravenclaw!) than I am in real life?’ and ‘Why is it so enjoyable to read ANY piece of text that isn’t education related, even food packaging?’ To avoid lapsing into a guilt coma, I try to use my multi-tasking skills to get some work done and have a bit of fun in the process.
As a law student procrastibaker, one of my favourite activities is making bread. Aside from being a recent theme on Survive Law, I like to make bread because:
the ingredients are cheap (flour, water, yeast and oil aren’t likely to break the bank) It’s a blank canvas to be creative with. Raisin-toast anyone? Most importantly, it’s an activity that needs to be done in stages, with boring bits in between. Hear me out!
After finding a recipe, you need to mix all the ingredients together. This far into the semester, this could be the only exercise you do all week. Anything that helps stretch those tortured typing muscles is a winner for me.
After you’ve made a big gloopy mess, you might think it’s never going to turn out properly – the feeling is somewhat similar to how you feel when you’re two hours into a last-minute 3,000 word essay. Don’t worry, now you get ease that frustration by kneading the dough into submission. Take this opportunity to take out some rage on an inanimate object rather than on your unsuspecting significant other.
Next, the dough needs time to rest and ‘prove’ (bread-speak for grow to double its original size). Because watching bread prove isn’t very exciting, it’ll make that case you’ve been promising to read or those study notes you’ve been avoiding seem quite interesting by comparison. So go and work on that for an hour or so. If your house is as freezing as mine is, it might even take longer for the bread to rise.
When the dough has roughly doubled in size, go back and do some more kneading. A lot of recipes will want you to punch the dough at this point, and it’s an activity I highly recommend. Perhaps try imagining that it’s a physical embodiment of some legal principle you haven’t been able to get your head around.
By this point you should be feeling more relaxed, so throw the dough into a pan or tray in an interesting formation (you can be creative) and let it sit and prove again. Go and do some study for another 45 minutes.
Your keyboard might get a bit floury, but I don’t think that’s any worse than the usual coffee splashes it endures. The best thing about making bread it’s difficult to ruin it up to this point. You can forget about it for a while as it proves and it’s not going to explode or turn into a rock.
After you’ve got some study done, stick it in the oven, set a timer, and keep studying until the smell of baking bread wafts through your house. When the timer goes off, it’s time for a study break and some delicious food!
Why procrastibaking is awesome:
You don’t have to feel guilty because you got some work done.
You feel like a domestic god/goddess.
You can share the delicious carb-fest with your family/housemates/friends and it’ll probably help them remember that you are a nice person and not just a cranky study troll.
When someone asks you what you did on the weekend, you can give a real response instead of racking your brain for something that faintly resembles a leisure activity.
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