Writing papers with tight deadlines is part of every student's life. We all know the myth of student laziness and we can argue if it is true or if it is just something the world around us wants to believe. I am starting to believe that as students we only like to operate when under pressure. In all honesty, if a paper is due in a month, we will for sure write it a day or two prior to the deadline. The adrenaline rush we get from cramming the paper into a 24 hours' time window or less is what made us master procrastinators.
As a student myself I can ensure you that this is a bad idea and living this way will impact your grades. Instead of an A+ you are more likely to get high blood pressure because of the stress. However, here are my tips for you if you are just like me and leave things to the last minute.
Understand the topic
In complex times like these, where time is limited and anxiety levels are at the highest, you are going to feel like jumping right into writing. Do not do it. Abort mission. If you are leaving the seminar paper to the very last minute, ensure, that you have at least a day to finalise it. To understand the topic you must invest time researching the topic, reading journals or scrolling through Instagram; you can spend at least an hour to get a basic understanding of what you are going to write about. Once that is done, write a statement of your paper, a kind of abstract to summarise the key message.
Create a layout
So, you left your seminar paper to the last minute and now you have to finalise it. Getting good grades depends on your ability to write and not on the time spent writing. If you are an A+ seeker, investing time in creating a structure for the paper is important. Structure will provide guidance and will make it easy for the teacher to follow your thoughts through the paper.
I myself like to dive directly into the introduction. This helps me ensure that I understand the topic and it helps me set the frame for the rest of the paper. If you don’t want to mix up your thoughts, one trick that was suggested to me was to create an excel sheet of all journals reviewed and to classify them by what key element you are looking for in each. This will ensure that your paper covers all required points, but also helps you avoid being repetitive. Give yourself at least 2 to 3 hours for each 1,000 words. Don’t rush when writing.
If you feel stuck and you run out of ideas, go for a 5-minute walk or listen to your favorite song. Be careful not to extend the 5 minutes. Once you’re back, take a cookie and start writing again.
Photoshop your paper
Great. You crunched as many words as you could. The difficult part is over and now turn to the fun part. Start reading, revising and editing your paper. Add all the journals and articles you used into the bibliography, create the first page, et voila, you are done!
It would be good if you ask a friend to read it before you submit, but if you are like me and you don’t have such friends, google translate will read it out loud for you. This helps you spot mistakes.
Now take a deep breath, give it one more read, tell yourself never to do things at the last minute again and finally press 'submit'. Now, it's time for a rest and hope that you won’t be in this position again.
My final advice is to never leave your papers and deliveries to the last minute. Although it may seem you can churn out many pages in one day, the level of stress is not worth it, especially since most of the time your grades will be impacted by it.
by Romeissa Laib
©Wittenborg University Press