It’s officially Spring Break at Transy, and guess what? I can actually “break” this week because I got all of my work done.
OK. I’m definitely bragging.
I am actually mostly amazed with myself for being able to do such a thing. Four years ago, this was not the case. Four years ago, I was writing a paper over Spring Break and not happy about it.
So, in order to redeem my bragging, I wanted to give future pioneers my tips for gettin’ a paper completed and feelin’ good about it. You will write A LOT of papers in college. Transy even has a Writing Center where you can make an appointment and someone will read over your paper and provide you with helpful criticism. It’s a GREAT place to go, and will help you out a ton your first year here.
DISCLAIMER: Most of you all are probably going to laugh at me right now, as I would have if I was coming out of high school and some crazy college senior was trying to tell me how to write a paper, but listen, if I had known what I know now at the beginning of my time at Transy, my stress level when it came to papers would have been in the negative digits, okaaaaaaay? Ok. Here we go.
1. Write the due date down in your planner. Sometimes, if it’s a big paper, I’ll even write a countdown on all the days leading up to the due date.
2. Look at your planner every single day. 🙂
3. Write an outline. I know, I KNOW. Outlines suck. I hated outlines in high school. In fact, I would usually make up my outline in high school just to pretend like I did it, but I NEVER used them. But if you make a detailed outline, it cuts your paper writing time in half.
4. My friend Abby gave me this tip, and I only started using it this year but I love it: Make a goal for the number of pages you’re going to write every day. Let’s say your paper is due seven days from now. If you start tonight, and you write two pages every night, and it’s only a five page paper, you’ll have it done…with time to spare! As long as you keep to your timeline. I also like to reward myself. If I get the two pages done each night, I can get an ice cream at dinner, or I can download a song off iTunes. Whatever! Stick to your plan, and reward yourself!
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK YOUR PROFESSOR A QUESTION ABOUT THE PAPER. I am not lying when I say that professors at Transy WANT YOU to ASK THEM QUESTIONS. They want you to succeed, and they are well aware that a student asking questions is a student that CARES ABOUT THEIR GRADE.
6. Look for an inspiring quote to start off your paper. A couple weeks ago I had to write a paper about acting, and I found this quote from Benjamin Franklin that said, “Good acting is keeping the audience from coughing.” It cracked me up! This quote is so funny! I was so ready to write my paper after I found that quote.
7. Create a paper writing Pandora station. My station includes Beyonce, P!nk, Michael Jackson, and Florence & The Machine…if you’re curious. 🙂
8. Don’t listen to all of those upperclassmen who start their paper the night before. If they do that, it’s because they’ve procrastinated so many times that they can bust out a paper pretty quickly…but it doesn’t mean you can! JUST SAY NO TO PROCRASTINATING PEER PRESSURE.
9. Don’t use caps in your paper like I’m using them in this blog.
10. E-mail your paper to yourself occasionally so that if something happens to your file saver thingy, you have it sent to yourself on your e-mail. It’s called a back-up plan, people.
11. Break writing style rules. Occasionally, a professor will call you out on grammar or MLA format, and things like that. However, you have a lot more freedom as a writer in college than you did in high school. High school teachers just want to make sure your paper has content and you know how to structure a sentence. College professors expect you to know content and how to structure a sentence, but they love it when you develop your own writing style. If you can make your point, persuade or inform your audience, and add your own writing voice to it, that’s how you get the best grade.
Hope these help!