Posted on May 17, 2014

During my very first year at K, I’ve written a ton of papers. I would guess inbetween 20 and 30 total, ranging in length. That might be due to my intense concentrate on the humanities (history and religion departments indeed like papers), but it’s also part of the college practice. That being said, these are my five major stages of writing a paper (with an suitable reaction). Let me know if you agree with my assessment in the comment section below!

1. Getting super excited about your topic

This is the time period soon after you receive your paper assignment but before you do any research. It’s defined by being incapable to discuss anything besides your topic, often telling your parents or random strangers about this interesting issue. It can last up to one week, but usually vanishes as the research process commences.

Two. The research process embarks to crush your fantasies

This time period will be defined by the continuous up-and-down emotional roller coaster that is research. Perhaps you find a wonderful source only to realize that the author was widely discredited soon after the source was published. Or you find out that the topic you had chosen was too narrow to find any primary sources that relate. In any case, this stage can often lead to tears and a massive junk food binge (I tend to lean towards Cheetos).

I’m pretty certain that this stage occurs in every educational building in the entire world, but at K, I feel like it manifests itself in a different way. Instead of watching Netflix or draping out with friends (okay, that kind of procrastination happens a lot too), I find myself procrastinating by doing other schoolwork. It’s almost like a w ay to avoid the reality of not accomplishing what I need to accomplish…just accomplish something else!

Four. The moment of truth

This stage doesn’t always happen, and I’ve certainly struggled through papers where I never have this moment. But when it happens, it’s the best part of the entire practice! This stage will present itself as just more research, just another book or article that might relate to your overall topic, but as you read through it, you will realize that it holds the key to your entire argument. You will begin to smile to yourself, no matter where you are (okay, let’s be fair, you’re going to be in the library). A sense of confidence will overpower you, and you will begin to write your paper accordingly. You will permanently look to that source for inspiration as the difference inbetween procrastination and the final stage: success.

One of the best moments is the one in which you realize that you wrote a good paper and that you don’t need to worry about it ever again. Running up to the third floor of Dewing (don’t let the signs trick you, it’s actually the fourth floor) after stapling your final copy (with the world’s most horrifying stapler in the library) is a welcome workout. Losing your breath (unless you’re exceptionally in form) is a sign that you have done it, you have succeeded. The final moments of the paper writing process is utter of joy, even if it isn’t your best work. Then you get to begin working on the next paper.

About Claudia Greening ?17

Claudia is a sophomore at K. She is originally from Royal Oak, a suburb north of Detroit. She hopes to major in History and minor in Religion, with a concentration in Women, Gender and Sexiness. She loves cats, traveling and spending time with friends. She is the Layout Editor of the Index, an Interfaith Student Intern in the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and a member of KCrew.

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