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Home » Student Voices » Point of Correction: “I don’t have to do this; I get to do this!”

Point of Correction: “I don’t have to do this; I get to do this!”

By: Bolaji Oke-Samuel (, section editor for student voices 

It is that time of the semester when professors and instructors begin to remind their students about the forecast of the forthcoming final paper due date. And if your to-do list look anything like mine you have about four final papers to write within the period of 29 days ranging from about 40 – 60 pages in total or more. (I know, insane right!)


So there you are sitting in a lecture hall and your professor reminds you yet again that your final paper is due in a few weeks. In the context of all the other papers that are still waiting to be written it is almost impossible to think about the fun factor. All you can think about is that you need to get them all done within the time that you have to the best of your ability.

I was a recipient of this forecast and I have been for so many of my classes without encountering a change in my “I have to do this and that” mind frame. On that faithful morning, I encountered a slight change to that perspective when my instructor said to the class; do not think of this paper as something that you have to do but think of it as something that you get to do. My interest was piqued at this statement and it elicited a smile from my lips.

And I thought to myself that is a good way to think about it. This word of encouragement by my instructor speaks to the distinction between obligation and opportunity. There is a difference between been obligated to perform a duty and been opportune to perform a duty. So barely hanging there fellow college students of mine, I employ you to try to think past the curtain of obligation into the threshold of opportunity especially within the contest that opportunities comes but once.

“I get to ____________ (fill in blank)” So before you begin typing those numerous papers or studying for those comprehensive final exams with the mindset of I have to do this instead remember this and repeat the mantra above until you are convinced and have been able to regain your interest in the subject.

Disclaimer: Do not employ the use of this mantra as a justification for procrastination.


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