Evidence is the Key

Welcome to college. Get ready for some of the best four years of your life. Adjusting to college life can be hard. Having to learn how to live with another person, living on your own, and most importantly adjusting to your work load. It can be hard but trust me it will all be worth it.

I am sure the importance of a thesis statement has been drilled into your head since a young age. Your teachers expected it to be located at the end of the first paragraph, contain at least three sub topics to support your opinion on the one main topic, and required you to back it up with specific examples and information. Well have no fear college writing is pretty much exactly like that. You are still forced to form your own opinion on the topic at hand, place the thesis statement at the end of the introduction, and most importantly evidence is always required to back up the assertion in a thesis statement. A thesis statement is like the starting line to a race it is where everything starts and where everything ends. Starting out with a strong thesis statement and valuable evidence to back it up can be everything you need to win the race.

Now that a strong thesis statement is developed its time to collect evidence to back up the thesis statement. Evidence backing up the assertion in a thesis statement is what makes the paper. Evidence in a paper is like the meat to a sandwich. Without the meat in the sandwich there would be no sandwich, and without the evidence to back up the thesis there would be no paper. Throughout the paper evidence and information is always related back to the thesis statement. All evidence that is gathered

In order to find valuable information to back up a thesis statement research must be done on the topic. Make sure the source the information is gathered from is a valuable source. The library provides several resources that can aid in finding reliable information for a paper such as academic journals, books, articles, and much more. When adding evidence to your paper it starts out with an introduction to the quotation.  This usually informs the reader of what the quotation is about. When putting the evidence into a paper make sure everything is cited correctly so risk of plagiarism is lowered. Typical English papers are written in MLA format for more information on correctly citing sources check out A Pocket Style Manual Sixth Edition by Diana Hacker and Nancy SommersThis provides great information in correctly citing sources.

After the research is gathered and everything is cited in the correct format your paper will have all the evidence needed to back up your thesis statement. See I told you it is exactly like high school writing. So coming into college there is really not anything to worry about, just use what you have learned from high school and apply the new things you have learned throughout college and you should breeze through college English papers like a champ.

Read a Little, Write a lot

Finally!  You have graduated high school, enjoyed a long summer in preparation to start your freshman year of college.  The suspense has been building; you have taken the tours, met your roommate, bought supplies and shown where the weekend activities take place.  This is the fun stuff, but we’re not in Kansas anymore.  You will attend a variety of classes teaching you the basics of higher education, and unlike high school, completing an assignment the morning before class just won’t cut it anymore.

Each of you will be required to take a writing class in your first year, a very different writing class than what you’ve experienced in high school.  Most papers written in high school only allow a student to research a topic and write on what the facts say.  Who actually talks like that in real life?  Think about the morning after the Super Bowl, or a Presidential Election, this is usually the first thing that is talked about when you see your peers.  Imagine the conversation, sure, you debate the quarterback’s stats, and who deserves MVP, or the margin of victory and the political party that new president represents, but is that all you say?  Anyone can quote the game scores or the margin of victory, those are the cold hard facts, but using those facts to make a strong argument on why you believe in Tom Brady, or President Obama, is a key to not only having a productive conversation, but crafting a well written college paper.

In every conversation, in everyday of our life, we use the information we have learned to support our opinions, this is a mirror of college writing.  Having the ability to relate an assignment to something you have experienced in your own life or a current event in the news, makes your writing personal.  This is where the research phase of your paper is so important.  Learning everything you can about what you’re writing helps you the writer connect to the subject.  Once students completely understand the topic that is being written, the words tend to flow in the page. All of the sudden the 4-5 page paper seems like too little space to condense all of your facts and views.

This type of writing cannot be achieved in a few hours, your professors tend to allow more than enough time for a writing assignment to be completed.  A good method I have discovered, is to use your research sources one at a time, read the source three to four times and walk away. Continue to think throughout the day how what was read is similar to something you see or hear in your other classes, the news, or general conversation. Do this with each source that is required, a day at a time. Now, go back and write, start by explaining the key points in your source showing similarities with real world happenings to keep the reader interested.  The last thing you want to write is an encyclopedia, containing all facts. BORING!

Not everything you write you will immediately be interested in, using this method, taking the research a little at a time spreads the workload, and keeps it less overwhelming.  You will be surprised how often your mind begins to wander, relating things you are familiar with to the seemingly boring academic journal that provides your research information.  Analyzing your sources a few times over before writing is similar to a watching an intense crime drama, usually the second or third time it is watched, the more details are pulled out of it.  I wish you luck, put in the time before, and the writing will come easier.

Practice Post

I’m very happy to be here at Longwood University.


Practice Post

I am very happy to be here at Longwood University!


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