General Question

yankeetooter's avatar

What's the better choice?

Asked by yankeetooter (8496 points ) July 20th, 2012

To keep trying to accomplish something for the next 27 hours (with sleep inserted at some point), when you already know you will not be able to accomplish this goal even in that amount of time…or to give up now, and admit defeat, but not waste 27 hours of your life stressing over it?

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57 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Perhaps use different language. If you clearly know you cannot achieve your goal in the next 27 hours, then let it go.

Why refer to “giving up” or “admitting defeat”?

If I wanted to, in some fantasy world, write an article that The New Yorker would accept or build a dry wall or lose 10 lbs., why would I set up an artificial and unrealistic time constraint? Who benefits?

What is gained by stressing out for 27 hours?

flo's avatar

@yankeetooter I don’t know how to answer the question without knowing some detail, It totally depends on the variables.

tups's avatar

Unless it’s really important, I would let it slide.

chyna's avatar

From your topics, I assume you are talking about a school project. Did you just wait too late to start it, or did you get too big of an assignment that you could never possibly accomplish?

yankeetooter's avatar

@gailcalled…It’s a project for my class in school. It’s due at 11 pm tomorrow night, and I have been tearing my hair out over it for the past few days, but I can’t get any further with it. I am so frustrated, and I just can’t see the benefit of continuing to try at this point, when I know I am not going to be able to complete it…

yankeetooter's avatar

@flo…see above…

yankeetooter's avatar

@chyna…I started as soon as I was able to, which was when I had completed the other assignments he had given us (and which were due sooner). It is a really hard project…

yankeetooter's avatar

@tups…I would, but it’s 20% of my grade for my course…

Blueroses's avatar

I think I would work to accomplish as much as possible to show good effort.

yankeetooter's avatar

@Blueroses…I agree, except I have gotten as far as I can, and I have been stuck at this point for a few days now. I am totally out of ideas, and don’t know what else to try.

chyna's avatar

You state that you are unable to go further with it from this point. Then turn it in as is for some possible points. Easier said than done, but you have to stop stressing over something you absolutely can’t complete.

Blueroses's avatar

Would it be cheating to share the actual issue?

yankeetooter's avatar

@chyna…I fear that is what I will have to do. If I don’t submit anything, I fail. If I submit what little I accomplished, I should at least have a B.

@Blueroses…I can share what the problem is.

Please implement a Registration system to manipulate student and registration records. Data records are stored in a database which is maintained by a server-side database management system. You may use Microsoft Access or a database system of your choice.
Each Course record consists of:
Course Number, Max. Enrollment, Current Enrollment
At the minimum, the Student record should consist of: ID, Last Name, First Name
This program performs the following tasks:
1. To add student records to the Student database table
2. To enroll students in classes (add records to Course database table)
3. To withdraw students from classes (delete records from Course database table)
4. To display the list of classes which are currently available for registration
5. To display the class schedule for a given student
All database operations must be performed by a server-side program.
The client-side program is a GUI-based program. 5 points will be taken off, if the client-side program is NOT a GUI program.

gailcalled's avatar

Would your professor be willing to use this partially completed project as a way of setting up a tutorial with him, to both find some creative solution and to enable you to learn some new techniques of problem-solving?

This is very abstract language, I know, but I have no idea what you are actually working on.

yankeetooter's avatar

@gailcalled…it’s computer programming (see above your response). The professor has been decidedly unhelpful all semester, so I don’t see that as a viable solution. I have numerous books, and plan to brush up on my skills before school starts again the last week of August. I just don’t like giving up…it is not in my nature…but in this case, I feel like I could better spend time on something else…

gailcalled's avatar

Does the department provide tutors?

yankeetooter's avatar

@gailcalled…if they do, I’m not aware. But since the project is due tomorrow, I don’t think I would have time to set up anything with anybody, regardless…I’m not even sure the tutoring center is open on Saturdays…

gailcalled's avatar

Since there is a tutoring center, arm yourself with information about how to use it effectively before you return to school in late August.

Sorry that things have spun out of control.

Adagio's avatar

This will probably not be at all helpful but I had an experience myself where I was absolutely daunted by an assignment, had no idea where I was going to even start, and I had a conversation with somebody in the class and she said something that opened the window just a crack and from there it was not hard to push it fully open, I ended up with a very high mark for the assignment and thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing it, mind you, I had way more than 27 hours up my sleeve to complete it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’d take a step away for a bit (maybe get some sleep), then take another look at it before turning it in. Perhaps a break away may help you get some idea of a new approach for it or a new idea to add to it.

AshlynM's avatar

If you can’t finish the entire project by the deadline, then I’d turn in what you do have done. If you’ve done all you can do and can’t do anymore, then this is what I’d do.

flo's avatar

@yankeetooter then you have to continue, right? I mean if it is a class project, aren’t you going to lose marks, fail etc.? If you don’t have another choice, then I say get refreshed, get some sleep, and then continue. If you give now, up for sure you will lose.

gailcalled's avatar

If I submit what little I accomplished, I should at least have a B.

This is not a bad compromise. But I like @Adagio‘s suggestion of talking to another student to perhaps jump start you.

yankeetooter's avatar

@Seaofclouds…Great idea…but I have done this the past few nights, and no more ideas seem to be forthcoming…

@flo…crazy thing is I have already earned 80/100 possible points for the class. As l long as I submit something, I should receive a B. I am just so frustrated that I can’t get any further.

@Adagio…we are not supposed to discuss the project with our classmates, plus, I don’t have a way of contacting them. One point of frustration I have in my life is that I have no one to talk to about my new love (computer programming). I agree that often just hashing over the problem with someone will spark an idea for a solution…but there is no one who fits that role right now…

yankeetooter's avatar

@gailcalled…yes…but nobody to talk to…

Mariah's avatar

If you’re truly certain nothing will get done if you keep working, then don’t bother. But I’m certainly familiar with those “aha!” moments that can appear from nowhere while programming.

I know, for me, that if I stopped working I would just be sitting thinking about it and probably feeling equally, if not more, stressed as if I were still working, so quitting wouldn’t really benefit me. But if you think you can get your mind off it, go for it.

yankeetooter's avatar

@Mariah…you’re no doubt right…

Blueroses's avatar

I really do understand this impasse. Can’t help you with specifics (sorry) but try to back-burner it. Do something entirely unrelated for a few hours and sleep. Sometimes the answers come when you aren’t actively looking for them.

I do realize you have few hours to spare, but you’re already at frustration level and if you have no other good options….

Mariah's avatar

Good luck, hun. Wish I were far enough in my studies to provide any help.

yankeetooter's avatar

@Blueroses…thanks. I know you’re right, it’s just that at this point I am running out of hours to spend taking a break from it. I have tried this method in the past with some success, but I have so much more to do with the project, that I don’t know if I would get done even so. I am just mentally exhausted and ready to give up, I guess.

chyna's avatar

This won’t help you for this class, but when you start back, make friends or form a study group in your computer programming classes. Even if they are much younger than you, you will have your love of programming to bring you together. Don’t wait for someone else to suggest this, just ask a few people and get something started yourself. Good luck!

Mariah's avatar

@Blueroses does have a point, sometimes after beating my head against the wall for hours with a problem, if I come back at it fresh just a little while later, the answer just pops out at me. I understand you’re feeling low on time, but getting refreshed might really accelerate your pace.

wundayatta's avatar

What have you done so far?

I would break it out into a list of tasks and deliverables. I.e., there are a number of tables to build. There are a number of functions to build. There are a number of linkages to make.

Create a list of what you need to do. That’s your task list. Start with the first item and build it. Do the minimum possible for each task. So a student table might only have first and last name. Or maybe only ID number.

Build your tables.

Build your functions

Build your GUI.

Link everything together.

Really, this can be done in the time you have available, assuming this is not the first time you have done any of these things. Even if it is the first time, I expect that you can read a manual or whatever book you have for the course, and you’ll find instructions on how to do all this. It is basic stuff. I’m sure you can do it in the time allotted—and have time left over to sleep. In fact, I’d do some work. Get well into it. Then sleep. Then finish it. You’ll do much more after you sleep than before, but you need to bang your head against the wall first for long enough to see some progress before you can feel ok about sleeping. So it goes.

Good luck.

Ela's avatar

If my grade could take the hit, I’d pack it up. I treasure my sanity way too much.
I’d gather everything I had and get it ready for turn in. Then I’d light some smell good candles, have a glass of ice cold Mike’s and just relax awhile.
I don’t think it’s about giving up, or admitting defeat. It’s about simply accepting that I’ve done all I could.

yankeetooter's avatar

@wundayatta…I tried all that. I had the GUI’s basically built, but when I try to populate the JLIsts in the GUI’s using the databases, and a client/server network, nothing works. I stopped making any progress days ago…the rest of the time I have just been spinning my wheels…and getting more and more depressed…and starting to question my choice of majors. That depresses me even more, because I really love programming…I want to do it more than anything in the world…and if I can’t succeed….

Mariah's avatar

Hon, you’ve got at least a B! That’s hardly failure. Any degree is going to have its very tough moments. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

yankeetooter's avatar

Thanks, @Mariah…I think sometimes I am too tough on myself, expectation wise…

And I hope he still honors my 80% average, as long as I submit something.

Blueroses's avatar

This is exactly where you stop. Go do something else. You know what has to be done and you’ve reached your edge. Part of your mind will still be working the problem, but you have to stop focusing on it. It gets more and more stymied, as you try.

You never know when the answer will come to you. I fretted for hours over a problem; finally said fuck-it, had a beer or two, and out of nothing related, something clicked and I solved it elegantly.

wundayatta's avatar

Ok. I find that in debugging things, it helps to make it simple again. Get one thing to work. Then start building on that.

You need sleep. You are too depressed to work. You are letting little things stop you and missing obvious things. This can only be helped with sleep.

Ela's avatar

Maybe brainstorming some here will help…
But sometimes you just gotta hang stuff up : ( You just have to know and accept you did everything you could.

this is definitely a job for Mike’s… light the smellies, i’m omw with @Blueroses and a 6pk

yankeetooter's avatar

@Blueroses…here’s hoping, although I don’t care much for beer.

@wundayatta… I got the GUI’s to work…now I’m stumped. I will sleep tonight, and see if that gets me anywhere, but it hasn’t helped the last few nights.

@Ela…I am reading a fantasy novel right now.

gondwanalon's avatar

Think positive and grind it out all the way to the finish. Never take you eyes of your goal. You can do it. Believe, believe believe!!!

yankeetooter's avatar

@gondwanalon…I am not losing sight of the bigger goal, I think…that of becoming a computer programmer. But for this class, it may be time to throw in the towel. Either way, in 24 hours I will have to…

wundayatta's avatar

Break it down into smaller parts. Your GUIs work. What’s the next step? Do it for one GUI. Figure out where the problem lies through a logical process of elimination. I’m not telling you ideas about what to do so that you can follow my ideas. I’m giving them to you as examples of how to think about it. You’ve got to take these ideas and apply them to your situation, which only you understand.

Right now, you are telling just about everyone that you’ve already thought of that and it didn’t work. This attitude is killing you. Hopefully you will be able to be more constructive after you sleep.

Ela's avatar

This is only one class. Write it off and don’t doubt your decision.
Stop smooshing your brain! Take a breath, relax and give Mike a kiss from me : )

yankeetooter's avatar

@wundayatta…I wish it was just my attitude, but I have tried just what you suggested countless times already…trying multiple options and ways of looking at the problem.

@Ela…all out of Mike’s, but do have some Smirnoff’s in the refrigerator…

Blueroses's avatar

challenge you to a chugging contest!

You gotta let it go.

yankeetooter's avatar

@wundayatta…I do have one small idea, which I will check out in the morning…we’ll see. Perhaps it may only get me a bit further along than I am now…but something is better than nothing…

wundayatta's avatar

That’s a next step! It’s always good to generate something new to try. It can also be good to go back and try things again. Many times, that has worked for me, although I cannot tell you why. Somehow things are different, I guess. It works now, even though you thought you already tried it.

yankeetooter's avatar

I’ve experienced that too…and I lied. I’m trying this idea tonight, mainly because it won’t take too long…

yankeetooter's avatar

Okay, @wundayatta…think you’ve gone to bed, but for when you see this…I have definitely made some progress. I don’t know if it will lead to complete success, but it’s a start.

Cruiser's avatar

I would invest the time in writing a detailed summary of your efforts to accomplish this task. Itemize your actions to complete the assignment in the allotted time. Then summarize what you observe as the obstacle(s) to why you were unable to complete the assignment. Be specific and honest.

You will face many tasks in the real world where something that is asked of you is just not possible and bring attention to this fact to the person expecting it done is then now alerted that changes in the assignments goals have to be made for a successful conclusion.

Highlight the strengths of your efforts and your weaknesses as well. Your teacher/professor may appreciate this extra effort. Either way it will be a good practice for you so next time a ball busting project comes your way you may have learned something to better prepare you to tackle the new problem.

I’d work my ass off on this problem and know I did my best than simply fold tent early and settle for a B.

Supacase's avatar

Take a long shower and try not to think about anything specific. For some reason (have read it is a combo os water and white noise among other things) it is a good place for subconscious brainstorming. You need to do something that requires no thought so your mind can do its thing in the background. You know how sometimes you zone out while driving? Same idea.

gailcalled's avatar

After the dust has settled, the course is over and you have received a fair grade, you may want to mail an evaluation of this prof. to the department chairman.

…The professor has been decidedly unhelpful all semester.

A professor is supposed to be helpful, remember?

wundayatta's avatar

I like the sound of “definitely made some progress.” I hope you were able to get some sleep and make more progress today.

How has it ended up?

yankeetooter's avatar

Not much more progress…but it’s submitted now, and only time will tell…

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