I know that on Dec. 19, I'll get one or two good projects. A few more will show up Dec. 22, and a few more Dec. 23. By January 5, I'll have nearly all of them, and the final project will wander in late. Even so, for several groups, I don't understand how they'll get done in time. Perhaps if I start thinking of this project as more about "process" than "product", I'll feel better, but the lack of self-discipline seems worse each year. Is it possible too much help/planning/direction actually makes things worse?
Then again, students always surprise you, for better or for worse. I keep forgetting that things are always messiest right before people finally clean them up. They say it's always darkest before the dawn...though it's also darkest before a really really big storm.