The “prose” and cons of writing research papers
Since the caveman days, college students have passionately hated essays (they hated them even more back then, since it was a real pain to try to carve 2,500 words into a stone tablet). Yet, essays are still a major part of the college experience (except for math nerds). What does this mean? It means suck it up, champ. Essays aren’t going anywhere any time in the foreseeable future. The sooner you accept this fact, the sooner we can move on to talking about some strategies for easing your essay-induced pain.
There’s no single best way to write an essay, but there are a few strategies you can employ to improve the quality of your papers. These include:
- Have something to say. It’s a lot easier to write 20 pages on a topic you’re passionate about than it is to write 5 pages on one you’re indifferent toward. That said, you’re probably never going to be so excited about an essay assignment that you run home from class and furiously start scribbling down your ideas. When you’re assigned a question, take time and make sure that you truly understand it. Then, think about the different ways that you can approach answering it. Try to find an angle that interests you. If possible, relate the question to issues that you care about. If you can come up with a thesis statement that you actually want to argue, the writing process will be a lot more enjoyable.
- Get started early. Writing a good essay takes time. Don’t leave everything until the night before it’s due. If you have to chug five energy drinks in order stay awake long enough to frantically churn out the required 2000 words, chances are at least 1500 of those words will suck. You just can’t fake good writing. If you want a good grade, start researching and writing well in advance of the due date.
- Be prepared to revise. Think you’re all done after you print out a completed version of your essay? Think again. Editing is an essential part of the writing process. We have tips that can help you spot the errors in your writing, even if grammar’s not your strong suit. Trust us, you don’t want to submit an essay that’s full of the embarrassing mistakes many students make.
- Don’t try to cheat. Plagiarism is rampant on college campuses. Many students get away with it, but those who don’t face potentially life-changing consequences (including being thrown out of school). What’s scary is that some students don’t even know what they’re doing is considered immoral. Make sure you know all the facts regarding what constitutes plagiarism.