Handing It In

By Anika C. Allan

Anika C. Allan is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program at Athabasca University.


One experience many students share is a moment of anxiety when handing in an assignment. When handing in an assignment online, there is an extra step involving a little window popping up that says something like, 'are you sure you wish to submit?' This window is intended to ensure that submissions are not made accidentally but it can also have an unintended effect of causing students to reconsider whether they are ready to hand in an assignment.

This poem is an attempt to capture the extended moment of anxiety when this window pops up in the submission process. The author hopes that current and former students will recognize a semblance of their own experiences with handing in assignments and that educators might empathize with this aspect of the student struggle.

Handing It In: A Poem for Students

It’s 11:32 p.m.

I am tired, and my head hurts.

I wrote all day, and my brain is the fuzzy screen on a wooden television.

I am staring blankly at the assignment submission screen.

Do I feel a cold coming on?

       Oh no, not again.

I check my words – are they any good?

       Of course, they are. I have checked them 100 times.

I check them for the 101st time.

       They are fine. I can hand it in.

The computer asks if I want to submit.


The computer asks if I am sure.

My body is suddenly armed for battle,

My heart is a playing card in a bicycle wheel.

Am I sure?


Did I check my words?


Were they good enough?

       I don’t know!!

I must end this torturous interrogation. I am shrinking under those bright lights.

My mouse axe chops the submit button.

It is handed in.

It is over.

Until the next assignment is due.