You know how it is. It’s coming up to the end of the semester, and the assignments are bubbling up faster than you can block your ex on Snapchat; especially those dreaded papers. It’s not that you don’t like the material or even that you don’t like writing papers, but the fact that these have a big screaming deadline and you have so many other things to do on top of them. Here are some things you can do to help you GET those papers done.
GET Started (a Little) Early
In a perfect world we would all start our papers well in advance and have them edited and finished a full twenty-four hours before the deadline. Unfortunately we often find ourselves panicking in line for the printer before sprinting across campus to get to our professor’s office on time, maybe even dramatically slipping on ice on the way there (seriously happened to me). It is stressful, and sometimes physically dangerous. Sometimes even doing a little bit of research, free-writing or brainstorming for an hour or two a week in advance can give you some serious help if you find yourself camped out in the library the night before. It can save you a lot of time and worrying if you know you have at least some sort of game plan; outlines are an academic lifesaver! Visiting your professor early on to get feedback on your ideas can also be useful and (hopefully) put you in their good books.
GET Some Rest
Goodness knows I sometimes wish I didn’t need sleep or rest to function, and more often than I really want to admit, I find myself testing those limits. All things aside though, we are all human (probably) and cannot act like we’re machines. Take breaks while you’re working, even if it’s just for a few minutes to watch a video on YouTube. Last semester during finals I found myself watching episodes of The Most Popular Girls in School: a web series which animates Barbie dolls into complex and very entertaining high schoolers (warning: it is definitely not PG). Podcasts are also a good way to get a nice light study break. Lately I have been listening to Oh No! Ross and Carrie in which they investigate and test out (very much in depth) religion, fads, etcetera for the listeners benefit. Another good way to get a study break is to put away your laptop/books during mealtimes, or to go for a walk and get some fresh air!
It’s always beneficial to have someone else’s eyes take a look at your work. Sometimes you can get so in your head that your ideas become unorganized or your brain fills in words that aren’t there. I would recommend reading your paper out loud with a friend or classmate, as it makes it easier to recognize mistakes and things that don’t make sense. Discussing ideas with another person may also be beneficial. I mentioned earlier that visiting your professor might be useful if you have questions or need guidance from the person who created and will probably be grading the assignment. No one can interpret the rubric better than your professor. I would also recommend visiting the Centre for Writers here at the UofA where trained peer tutors can also offer you some help with any kind of writing you’re doing. You can book appointments in advance, but walk-ins are also welcome.
Don’t forget to remember that you are wonderful! You will get those papers done no matter how uninspired you may feel now, and it will be amazing. If you are stressing about the deadline, maybe consider asking your professor in advance for an extension; they are often more accommodating than you think. Now I’m off to attempt to follow my own advice, wish me luck!
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