4 Things You're Not Doing In Your Research Papers

4 Things You're Not Doing In Your Research Papers

Your paper isn't a collection of randomized ideas, it's a conversation.

The end of the semester is grueling enough, and the fact that professors mercilessly assign 10-page research papers left and right only serves to increase the stress of wrapping up a semester of hell. Research papers loom like it’s their business to generate enough anxiety to power a whole factory, and ignoring all thoughts of the incoming deadline and topic that you haven’t even considered only makes things worse. Unless you’re an English major, this is probably one of the 10 essays you’ll ever write in your career, but it helps to have a set of strategies that are going to help these couple of papers go as smoothly as is possible for you.

1. Outline

Honestly, even as an English major, I used to consider outlining a bad word. But, if you're someone who struggles with structure, outlining is going to help you organize your thoughts like nothing else. Your outline doesn't need to be a thought web or a KWL chart or any of the ridiculous designs that your elementary school teachers swore by. All an outline has to be is an organization of ideas, which means ideal outlines don't exist. They vary from person to person and an outline that serves you well for one paper might drive your next paper into a complete disaster. Consider your topic, consider your ideas, and remember that there's nothing formally required of a quick outline.

2. Transitions

Transitions are going to help you take your thoughts and connect them so that your paper flows without sounding choppy. A good transition is going to be a sentence at the beginning of your new paragraph that ties your new idea to your old idea, much like the previous sentence of this bullet point has done. Your paper isn't a collection of randomized ideas, it's a conversation that you are having throughout the duration of those 10 pages. You don't interrupt yourself when telling your friend about your day by interjecting about an article you read in class last semester, so you shouldn't interrupt your dialogue about nuclear weapons with seemingly random paragraph about roaches. But...if you begin your roach paragraph with a comment about how cockroaches are probably the only insect capable of surviving a nuclear attack, your transition saves the day.

3. Broad statements

The other day, my professor voiced his desire to ban students from using the word "society" in their essay. What is society, who is society? The word is empty and being that vague and broad in your statements will only help you lose your audience. Ditch words like "certain" or "perspectives" and instead reference direct and concrete ideas. Figure out what you mean, and then say it.

4. Concluding with a thesis

One of the best things I've had said to me this semester has been that writing is thinking. The end of your essay is going to be significantly better than the beginning because you've spent your entire piece thinking about your subject, thus you're extremely likely to find your thesis in your conclusion. Pick it out and marvel at how damn brilliant you are for finding it...then pick it up, plop it into your introduction, and start your essay all over again.

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7 Things To Look Forward To Second Semester At Endicott


It's the first day back at the nest. Here is a list of a few things to look forward to this semester.

1. The Lodge

We all know we have been missing those mozz sticks.

2. The Sports Teams

Winter sports will still be playing but soon the spring sports like baseball, lacrosse, and softball will be swinging into gear!

3. The Beach

Warm weather will hopefully be here in late April and May.

4. Sports Game Trips through CAB

Be sure to look out for the Red Sox game! Sign-ups go quickly!

5. CAB Bingo

If you have never been to bingo, you're in for a treat!

6. Paint Nights

They're the first Friday of every month, and it's freeee!

7. The End of the School Year

All of your hard work has paid off! Now it's time for summer!

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Dear Me, As Spring Semester Starts

Here's to making this semester the best one yet.

Dear Me,

Another semester come and gone. Christmas and New Year's are over already, and it's time to go back to school with another semester on the horizon.

It's time to reconnect with college friends that you haven't gotten to see in a month, move back into your dorm room, see your roommate again, go to all new classes with some new professors, wear that cute new sweater you got for Christmas and kiss the luxury of a home-cooked meal goodbye.

A new semester brings something amazing: a clean slate. Get what you got last semester for grades out of your head. Your professors don't know what kind of student you are unless you had them for a class before, so take initiative and show them that you care. It's a great time to become a better student; the student you want to be.

Get to class on time, take great notes, participate, ask questions, actually do the readings for class and don't just take it as a "no homework" night, complete all assignments on time, go to office hours and study hard for exams. These are all things that students say they will do each time a semester starts, but it slips away within the first week of being back. Now is the semester to actually do them and become that student you have always wanted to be.

Your professors are there to help you, so go to office hours if you don't understand something, want to review for a quiz or test, or just go to say hello. Email is also a wonderful, easy tool that you can utilize to ask questions or just check to make sure that you're on the right track. It's easier than face-to-face, one-on-one confrontation in office hours.

Fall semester is in the past, so focus entirely on making your spring semester the best one yet. If you truly try to make the semester the best, then everything will fall into place and you will be so satisfied and proud of yourself come May.

Focus on making yourself the best you that you can be this semester. Branch out, try something new, join a club on campus that you never thought you would join, make new friends, find some study buddies in class, and most importantly, stay true to yourself. Also, try to find some time to spend caring for yourself, such as taking a nap or just relaxing and maybe watching an episode or two of a TV series or just spending time on your phone.

It may help to relieve stress and get focused on the things that need to get done in the long-run.

Remember that there are so many people that are there for you. Your friends are all going through the same "college thing" like you, so don't be afraid to talk about it with them and work through it together because college is truly tough for everyone.

Your parents and friends back home are only a call away if you need to talk to someone other than your college pals, and love you endlessly and are always there for you.

Remember to pray and talk to God, too. He is someone who will always listen and knows what you want to say before you say it. He knows you inside and out, and talking to God is something that can be therapeutic and stress-relieving.

It can be done in a form of meditation and reflection, which can help you relax and focus on what is really important in your life at the moment and what you need to do to feel your best.

Here's to making this semester the best one yet.

All my love,


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