TO MY PROFESSORS, MOTHERS, AND ANYONE ELSE WHO MAY BE JUDGING ME: this is purely hypothetical.
FOR THOSE IN NEED:
To begin, this is a liberal arts college. There are many many many essays. I am in the politics department (international relations), and in the next three weeks I have to write six essays, ranging in word count from 800 to 6500. Do not despair! for I know how to write these essays, and I can save you.
I know it says a weekend, but before the weekend hits, you will need to talk to the professors for whom you must write these papers. Not for anything like moving due dates (although if you have Accommodations, you can adjust the due dates), but for discussing your paper topics. It doesn’t have to been an in-depth discussion, it just needs to be a “Hey, this is kinda what I am thinking, what think?”
This will save you. You will look like you care and that you are putting a lot of time into your writing. You also will come away with feedback: it might be how to make your paper more significant, or giving deeper analysis, or it might change to framework of your entire paper. It even lets you go completely off-book: after talking with one professor, I am now encouraged writing a comparative analysis of international organizations in the Middle East, instead of the original assignment (which was to analyze how well a particular international organization handled a particular issue; being the Middle East, the answer was “Not well.”).
After this step, you may get to the weekend. Here:
- On Friday night, outline both papers. Some people do really in-depth outlines, which is fine. I just structurally organize paper using section headings, notes on the most important information per heading, and rough word count needed for each section.
- The word count per section really helps. Use it as goals to aim at.
- I am a very goal-oriented type of person.
- Pick whichever essay will be harder/longer. This is the essay to start on Saturday.
- (If you are a nerd, start writing on Friday.)
- Just write. If you can’t remember a certain detail, make a note that says “CERTAIN DETAIL HERE” and come back to it.
- I don’t stop to cite. Ever.
- I hate citing with a fiery passion.
- A proper system of citation would be to just say, “It is known,” for every single fact.
- Write to your word count goals.
- Reward yourself with chocolate/exercise/a new t-shirt/three hours of Parks and Recreation. It is Saturday. You still have time.
- You have less time on Sunday.
- Write the other paper today. It is easier and/or shorter.
- Lock yourself into a room at the library. Or equivalent
- Turn off your phone. Allow no distractions. It is best to carry snacks.
- Remember what your professors told you: make the analysis deeper. Talk about why your essay is important. Try to sound intelligent.
- I use a lot of adverbs. In general, I would recommend editing those out.
- Finish your other paper. Stay in the zone.
- You can take short breaks if necessary. Really short though. Basically only bathroom breaks + one game of Candy Crush.
- Okay, cite now.
- If you don’t cite, you will get failing marks on your paper and, at minimum, you will be mercilessly mocked. Cite your paper.
- I hate Chicago style, but it’s the only one with class.
- You may be really bad about editing your paper at this point, but it’s okay. The words are probably starting to blur together. It happens.
- Just call it good.
- Go eat a snack and go to bed.
Please note that these steps are not necessarily in strict order. You can write more on Saturday, or on Friday night (if you are a nerd/somehow not exhausted from the week). I also didn’t include time stamps: hopefully, you’ll be done before midnight. But if you’re not: just keep writing.