Finals- the best and worst week during a semester for college students.
It's the best because it means that break starts soon.
It's the worst because the amount of studying that has to happen is more than the total amount that has been done all semester.
While studying for tests is hard, I think that writing papers is a lot worse.
With tests, you can get a review guide, look over previous tests and look over class notes.
With papers, you're basically given a prompt and are expected to come up with something insightful enough to create a paper six pages long. It's even worse when you have more than one paper due, which is the reality for English majors.
So, for all those people lucky enough not to have to experience this reality, here's some insight into how finals feel for English majors.
Sometimes, alright most of the time, teachers give their final paper requirements out a week or two before the paper is due. If it's a really large paper, they may even give it out a month in advance. But, if you're anything like me, you'll put it away and ignore it for a while. Then, you may decide to write out a plan of attack with different deadlines to meet so it isn't all left until the last day. But this list normally just makes you feel better about yourself, and then you forget it. Procrastination is real among college students, even those who know that writing a 10-page paper the day before it's due is a bad idea.
Of course, eventually, reality sets in, typically when you are bragging about only having a week left of school, which means you only have a week left to write three papers, all over five pages long. Then you start to panic, which may lead to calculating how many hours there are in a day versus how many hours you'll need to form a coherent paper.
3. Outline, find sources, repeat
One of the toughest part about writing a final paper is figuring out exactly what you're writing about. I find that outlining helps, as does finding sources. It helps that finding the sources means finding other opinions that can give you ideas. Then you repeat the process, because you tell yourself the outline isn't perfect or that you need more sources, but really it's to avoid actually starting the paper.
4. Start the paper
Introductions are either the worst or best part about writing an essay. If it's hard for you, then you start suffering from "blinking-cursor syndrome". If you're like me, and find introductions to be the easiest part of an essay, then you're lucky! You at least have a solid paragraph done before you experience blinking-cursor syndrome. Either way, though, you will eventually start staring at the screen wondering what to type next. Writer's block is mandatory for paper writing.
5. Start watching Netflix
You tell yourself that you'll only watch one episode, then get back to your paper. Maybe you use Netflix as a reward- type a paragraph, watch an episode. But that normally falls apart and that becomes type a sentence, watch an episode, type a word, watch an episode, and then watch another one.
6. Mentally yell at yourself to write your paper
I go through this process a lot, sometimes even while actually writing the paper because I hate what I'm writing. I can come up with some pretty imaginative names for myself when attempting to find encouragement to start writing again.
7. Find something to eat instead
Yeah...this one is pretty self-explanatory. You can't tell me that you'd rather write a paper than eat junk food.
8. Eventually get it done and repeat the cycle for the next one
Eventually, we always get our papers done, because English majors refuse to turn in work that isn't 100%, but this comes after many hours of panic, tears and anger at our brains for not working properly. Then, we get to start it all over again, because no English major only has one paper due for finals.
Being an English major may seem like fun- you read books, you sit around in class and talk about it like you would in book club and sometimes you write papers about what you already talked about.
In reality though, it's really very difficult. English majors experience writer's block constantly, and no English major ever likes turning in their work because they feel like it isn't good enough. This article may have been funny, but in reality this process is very stressful, and actually very similar to this article. There is some repeating of certain steps, or additional ones (like writing an Odyssey article to avoid your paper), but this is the gist of it. Finals are stressful, even for the nerds who get to just read books all semester long.