8 Ways To Survive Writing An 8-Page Paper

8 Ways To Survive Writing An 8-Page Paper

Your worst nightmare...


I realize that many of you have to deal with papers a lot longer than this, but eight-page papers still stink! I've only had to do one eight-page paper so far in my academic career, but now I'll have to do three this semester. Going through this process, I've picked up a few tips that have helped me along the way. These tips are fairly basic, so they could work for longer or shorter papers. You guys can adjust them however you need. Keep in mind that this is what helps me. Everyone has a different strategy when it comes to academics, and writing papers is no different. I hope these tips help or at least inspire you to find some for yourself.

Without further ado, here are some ways to survive an eight-page paper:

1. Give yourself time.

Time? What is that? No one has time anymore! Although this is true, it's also true that you'll need some time to prepare. This can be however long you like - even an extra day can be helpful. What matters is that you don't do it all the night before. For most people, the stress is just gonna take over, and you'll just write a bunch of nonsense. If you work well the night before, then try to start on it earlier in the day than midnight. You still need your sleep.

I like to try to start planning a week or two in advance, depending on the length and subject matter of the paper. This gives me time to really think about my topic and how I want to approach it.

2. Plan it out.

You could make an outline, a flow chart, or anything you want to help you organize your thoughts. Even if you're writing your paper the night before, you can do this step and see a difference in the clarity of how you write. It may even save you some time writing in the long run. The more you have planned out ahead of time, the less time it'll take to actually write the thing. You may even want to make multiple outlines if you're feeling organizational.

What about the people who write best when they just go for it and start writing? That can work for some people, but you still need to watch your organization. This will increase the time you'll need to spend editing, so try making markers on your paragraphs to indicate what their topic is. This'll make it easier to identify them as you're editing. You can move them around, add some more, or delete ones you don't need.

3. Talk to your professor.

I don't usually ask my professors for help (which is stupid, btw - professors want to help their students), but I decided I'd give it a try this time. I can't believe how much it helped! I felt more confident in what I was doing and got some good ideas from my professor. It also helped just to talk about my thoughts and to try to organize them and explain them. Your professors have office hours for this specific reason!

4. Write a rough draft.

This probably isn't the kind of thing you can do the night before, but it is something that'll help you out. The more solid your rough draft is, the less you'll have to do later. If you planned it out and kept yourself organized, you should have a pretty decent idea of where you're going.

One thing I've found helpful with rough drafts is color coding the sentences (topic sentences are red, support is green, etc.). This may seem a bit extra, so feel free not to take up this tip if it doesn't help, but I'd suggest giving it a try. It'll help you stay organized (if you couldn't tell, that's a pretty important thing for a paper). You can see which paragraphs need more support or need a better transitional statement.

5. Create a second outline.

For those of you who hate outlines, I apologize for mentioning them again. What I've found helpful is creating a second outline alongside making my rough draft. If you decided to mark your paragraphs, having an outline will help you figure out which paragraph is which. You'll be able to move things around and adjust them easier.

6. Step away.

Again, this isn't the kind of thing you can do the night before. You'll need at least a day to do this, maybe more, depending on how much time you gave yourself. Stepping away and coming back with a fresh pair of eyes will help you see the mistakes you may have made while you were typing your paper at two in the morning. It'll be as if someone else were reading your paper - you'll have a more objective view.

7. Critique and edit.

I would suggest editing your paper some before you turn it in for critique, but no matter what, TURN YOUR PAPER IN FOR CRITIQUE. Even if you've stepped away and come back with fresh eyes, you're still going to be biased enough to not understand what your professor won't understand. If there are critiquing programs at your school, give them a try. I know I definitely wish I'd done that for my past papers.

8. Use as much time as you need.

There are benefits to turning your stuff in early. If something goes wrong, you'll still have time to fix it. Yes, be sure to submit your paper before 11:58 p.m. What this tip is saying is that you shouldn't worry about turning it in days before it's due if you need more time to work on it. You can turn it in early if you have a whole bunch of other stuff to do and need to get this one thing done, but if you have the time, use it for editing or getting more critiques on your paper or asking your professor a few more questions. Even if you're sick and tired of this paper, do your absolute best on it!

I don't even follow all of these tips all the time, but the ones I do follow help me a lot. I encourage you to try finding your own methods for writing papers. It's something you gotta do, so you might as well do it well.

Good luck!

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.


Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.


A girl who is sad to go

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To The Students Who Can't Take Anything Lower Than An A, You Will Survive

Have we conditioned ourselves to be diligent, assiduous students so that we make it far in life, or have we manifested an obsession?


No matter if one is looking at high school or college, there are these types of students everywhere; even some in elementary and middle school. I am not speaking to the student who gets good grades because they've paid attention during class due to the likability of learning, nor the student who studies because it's important to get good grades. I'm talking to the student whose life revolves around grades.

It likely started off at a young age. Parents and teachers obviously, and rightly so, encouraged that you do homework, pay attention, and study. The point of school is to learn and to see if one has adequately learned the information, grades are needed. Although, as time went on it became less of, "I need to learn this information, and to prove I have become smarter my parents and teachers will see an A" and has become more of, "An A is the only thing that matters in the end. Colleges won't test me to see if I actually know how to calculate the standard deviation, but if I had an A in the subject area, they'll assume I profusely learned the material at some point. Colleges like prospective students who have shown that they were knowledgeable in high school. Colleges like A's.

To the students whom I'm speaking to, the students like me, we are not understood by many. They don't understand why we stay in on the weekends or why we're constantly checking Blackboard. Just as we will never understand how a bad grade doesn't run their day or even week. When our peers get a C and see we got a B-, they question why we're visibly upset over it. They think we are overdramatic, and they're probably right. The thing is, our whole life grades have been something that defines us. Once you start getting consistent A's, there's no going back. You're denoted as "the smart child" or "the smart friend" or even if you're unlucky, yes I mean unlucky, voted the superlative of "Most Likely To Succeed." So, if by chance you don't "succeed" in terms of what those who voted for you imagined you'd achieve, you've failed. Your grades label you.

Many high school and college students have more common obsessions. Sports, sex, weight, relationship status, alcohol, or drugs. We obsess over grades, but it may be one of the worst obsessions of them all.

After taking a test everyone pulls out their phone to text their friends. After taking a test we pull out our phone to use the calculator to calculate the maximum amount of points we could have missed on that test to get a 90%.

Before spring break everyone calculates the estimated price of their Fort Lauderdale trip including flights, hotels, and over-priced vodka sprites. Before spring break we calculate what grades we need to get on the rest of the assignments the remainder of the semester to receive an A in the end.

After the semester ends everyone else goes on their computer to binge watch Netflix after a rough 16 weeks. After the semester ends we stare at our computer waiting for the final grades to be released, even though we know they're not coming for another week, yet we keep checking.

Grades are important, but not important enough to be compulsive over them. Being a "good" student doesn't mean receiving A's all the time. Especially in honors or AP classes in high school, and in level 2000 + classes in college. A good student is someone who attends class, does the suggested homework and studying, or slightly above that. No where, has any professor or parent said that being a "good" student should entail not allowing yourself to go out on the weekends, or being so nervous about a grade you have not yet received that you check your phone waiting for it to be entered in, even though you know the professor said they won't be in for another few days.

To the students who can't take anything lower than an A, and makes their state of mind and mood contingent on whatever grade they receive, you will survive.

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