So, you think you can start an essay?
We’ve all been there. Sitting at our desk, looking at the bright laptop screen with a blank Word document mocking us. Right now we are wondering if we really need to write this essay. I mean, an assignment that’s 30 percent of your grade isn’t worth much. Wrong. Do not succumb to the laziness that is postpone an article
DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME?
Allowing enough time to plan, research, and write is the most important tip of all. Feeling rushed translates into a piece of crap. Of course, procrastination is part of the collage aesthetic, but waiting until the deadline day before to write an article, especially if it weighs heavily in your classroom, will end up being your downfall. Make sure you have completed all other tasks before you sit down to write; that way, no other obligations linger above you while you write. Channeled all of your attention into writing a stunning essay.
WHAT ARE YOU WRITING?
If you are writing an article about a book that your class has read for Intro to International Relations, it would be difficult to get a good grade writing on the most recent one. Hunger games movie. For many courses,essay topics are already chosen for you, and you have little choice but to stick to the prompt. If the topic doesn’t interest you, learn to like it for now because your grade depends on it.
Meanwhile, some classes allow a little more creative freedom by presenting a wide prompt and allowing you to write about almost anything that is within those boundaries. If you are lucky enough to experience the latter, feel #blessed. Use this to your advantage and choose a topic that you will enjoy spending hours researching and writing on to make the battle more bearable.
ARE YOU SITTED COMFORTABLY?
Now that you know the topic you’re writing about, it’s almost impossible to type because you’re too hot or too cold. While you enjoy working in the library, sometimes you might end up researching how to stay warm in an arctic tundra instead of what you really need to focus on. To combat this, I end up packing a blanket and fluffy socks every time I go. The key to starting your article is to get rid of as many distractions as possible and keep your mind focused on research and writing.
WHERE ARE YOU?
It’s no surprise to find your library regulars in their favorite corner of the fourth floor with their double shots of espresso trying to figure out the chemistry before a big exam. Then there’s the person who barks but manages to solve 30 physics problems without a hitch.
Some need peace in order to work, while others find that being surrounded by their peers helps them stay focused on their task. It took me a while to realize that I needed peace (I talk a lot), and everyone is different. Whether you’re sitting on the union lawn or in your dorm room common room, find the perfect workspace to start an essay.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW?
Knowledge is power. Think of it this way: telling a story is easier if it was you who lived it, compared to telling a story about your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s friend. Some students try to research and write simultaneously to save time or try to do it faster. In the end, this does not work in their favor.
There’s a reason your fourth year science fair project included a “substantive research” portion. Learning the material in advance will allow thoughts and ideas to flow smoothly. This way, you won’t have a hard time understanding your topic and deciding which transitional word works best. Now half the battle is over.
DO YOU HAVE A PLAN?
You have all of this information in front of you and you feel even more overwhelmed now. But that’s okay because the hard part is over. Similar to the itinerary you have for the vacation, organize your paper the same way.
What’s the first thing you want to do? Or if so, what’s the first idea you want to mention? Describe the subject of each paragraph, so once you start writing all you need to do is fill in the blanks with specific details. I used to dread blueprints in high school, but now that I see them as a useful tool, I can’t start a job any other way.
WHERE IS THE START LINE?
Introduction. Three-body paragraphs. Conclusion. Many of us who took a language arts class in college have learned this formula for writing an A + essay. But you know what they say: the rules were meant to be broken.
Now that you are in higher education, you can get rid of the simple and easy route. Writing an article is difficult, but sometimes the actual start of an article turns out to be the most difficult. Have you ever tried to skip the intro all together? You should. Try writing the thesis, then move on to the body of the article, then come back later for this exciting intro.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE DONE?
5,000 words later, you click Save and you’re free at home. You did it. You have started and completed an essay. That alone is a reason to binge-watch Office for the third time. But don’t press play just yet; Step away from your laptop for a few minutes or hours, then return to replay.
Coming back after a short break lets you see mistakes you might have overlooked otherwise. If you have time, have a friend read it over as well. They will let you know if the sentences turn smoothly and make sense. Now you are done. Now fall into the black hole of Netflix marathons.