Archive for category 4. There is Enough Time in the Day

Planning and Researching for your Paper!

Research and Planning

 

            When it comes to writing college papers, time management is very important. Time management is critical in order for you to be able to create a well written paper by the due date. There are several components to time management; one of which is the researching and planning for your paper. Research and planning your paper is essentially laying a base for the rest of your paper to be built upon, although for some students this can be the hardest part. When researching and planning your paper there are two important things to consider. How early should I start planning and researching? And, what is the goal or objective of my research and paper?

            So, how early should a college student start planning and researching in order to efficiently manage their time? For starters, you should begin your planning and research way before you even begin to think about writing the paper. Its best to begin planning and researching for your paper around two and a half weeks before the due date. This gives you a great deal of time to do some in-depth research and adequately plan the layout of your paper. This amount of time gives you some wiggle room in case something unexpected happens while researching or planning.  For example, say you’ve been researching for three days, and suddenly, you find that there isn’t as much information on your topic as you thought and you need to switch your topic. Since you started two and a half weeks before the due date you still have two weeks left to research, plan, and write your paper before it is due. This also leaves you plenty of time to take care of other assignments that you may have for different classes.

            When it comes to time management, another important question you should ask yourself is, what exactly is the goal of my paper? Before you sit down to do research or planning, it can be very helpful to think on, and decide what the purpose of the paper is and what exactly your research needs to accomplish. If you can determine what the goals are, it will make planning and researching for your paper much easier because you have an idea of what you need to find and how you want it to all fit together. Something that I myself find very helpful is, once you decide on your goal or goals, you can create a list of key ideas and concepts that you want to look into while researching. This creates a much faster and more fluid researching process because you already know what you would like to look into. Also, this allows you to do more in-depth research because you spend more time focusing on the previously selected topics and less time looking for topics themselves.

            If you ask yourself these two questions before you start researching and planning, it will make researching and planning much easier for you. I personally find that this helps take a lot of the stress out of writing a paper, and it saves me a load of time. Hopefully it will do the same for you all, good luck freshman!

The Importance of Drafting

If you’re anything like the incoming Freshman I was, then you are probably used to getting started on a paper the night before it’s due. Well, it’s a little different around here. But don’t be scared! We’re here to help!

Not drafting a paper is like jumping off a plane without a parachute…seems a little intimidating, but if you manage your time efficiently, there is no reason that you can’t get the grade you want. No first draft is ever a polished paper. If you don’t give yourself enough time to let your thoughts develop fully, then your paper will never reach its fullest potential.

My first semester of college taught me the importance of time management. Each paper grade went up because I took more time to make sure my ideas made sense not only to me, but to the reader. Sometimes I even had my roommate read my papers and tell me if there was anything I could improve on. Getting different perspectives is an excellent way to make sure you are getting your thoughts across smoothly.

I’m sure most of you are used to getting a prompt in class and having a time restriction to write it. Your teachers most likely scratched out half of your paper by the time they were done grading, and you probably felt restrained to stick to a certain structure. The good thing about college writing is the amount of time we have to write each paper and the freedom we are given. There is no rush when writing a paper if you don’t wait until the last minute.

It takes time and patience to become a sophisticated writer. I feel like I have learned a lot about my own writing style just from rereading my own work over and over. It makes it much easier to stop yourself in your tracks if you are repeating similar mistakes you made in the past. This means that the only option is to improve.

I came into college without a single clue of what was to come. All I knew was it wasn’t going to be easy. It surely isn’t. But when I give myself enough time to sit down and formulate a plan and let my ideas flow onto the paper, I always get it done. I usually start my papers a week before the due date, not including research.

Coming to college is a stressful and nerve wracking experience, especially if you have no idea what to expect. We had to figure it out on our own, but luckily, we have provide you with all the necessary and relevant tips to have a successful first year. Hopefully you will find this advice helpful when applied to your first essay. Have a great first year, Freshmen!

Timing: The Ticking Bomb of Writing

There is nothing worse than trying to write a paper at last the minute. You’re typing your paper and all of a sudden you’ve realized, “Yes, I’ve finally hit the last page!” It’s 11:55pm and you have just enough time to read your paper one more time and correct grammar mistakes. Unfortunately, very few people pay much attention to grammar mistakes; what they really care about, are the ideas explored on the page. You turn to your roommate for help on revising your paper, but you find that he or she is sleeping because they have an 8:00am class. Nonetheless, you don’t have enough time to do anything other than save and submit your paper, knowing you haven’t done your best work.

Time management is definitely a key factor in writing papers for any class. A lot of times students do papers at the last minute which doesn’t give them time to edit or revise their papers to expand on the ideas of their topic. The first draft of a paper will never be on par. Planning out time to edit a paper is important because it gives the student time to ask other people to revise the paper or use resources such as the Writing Center located in the Greenwood Library. The Writing Center assists with grammar and spelling, however the main intention for going there, should be to get insight on every aspect that you fall short in and get feedback on the overall paper. Never try to use these resources to write the paper.

Furthermore, time management for editing papers should be very important because it gives time to also ask the professor any questions. Although the professor gives guidelines on what the paper should be like, if there are any editing questions about the format or just questions on how ideas are expressed, a student should allow enough time to go back and edit properly. Most times, ideas change from the time the students are given the assignment to the time when the students are sure they are ready to submit. Often, students who write papers at the last minute go back and read over the paper a few days later and are not pleased with what they wrote.

The first paper I wrote in college was for my English 150 class and I wasn’t familiar with doing a paper with my own ideas, because I was so used to the Virginia Standards of Learning ways of writing. I wasn’t familiar with my surroundings well enough to ask a friend to read over my paper and I also didn’t know the Writing Center even existed. On the first paper we were assigned in this class, I waited until two days before it was due to start and I received an 82. Before we were assigned our next paper we got a visit from a student who works in the Writing Center. Ever since we got that visit, I have made time to go to the Writing Center for insight on my ideas and structure my paper. On my last paper I received a 95!

Time Management: Checking Your Syllabus

In college, checking your syllabus is the most basic way to stay informed on upcoming assignments and planning out your workload. At the start of the semester, each professor will either post their class syllabus online or give you a hard copy. The most important thing to remember about the syllabus is that they are binding contracts that tell the professor that you know and understand what’s expected of you to succeed in your class and that it is no longer his or her responsibility to remind you of assignments. In addition, the syllabus gives you an outline and idea of the workload that you should anticipate for the class, and lets you know what to expect. Each syllabus will have any information about the method the professor uses to grade papers and any classroom policies they consider worth knowing to succeed. Most professors also include a week by week outline of the material they expect to be covered and the dates of any quizzes, papers, or exams they have planned.

In my experience, it’s easiest to have at least one hard copy of the syllabus for my own personal use. I have a small folder or binder for each of my classes, and inside I keep the syllabus copy along with any loose paper that the professor hands out. In each syllabus, I highlight any known homework quiz, or exam dates to keep track of when they’re due. In addition, having a hard copy on hand allows me to cross off each assignment that I complete when it’s been turned it.

To keep myself organized, I also purchase a planner to write down and keep track of any big dates. By purchasing a planner, it allows me to write down and check homework and assignment dates daily. Having an easily accessible way to check dates helps me plan for papers, and gives me a time frame of when I need to start my research, and how much time I have to create a rough draft and revise my paper. Responsibly using your syllabus and making sure I know all important due dates helps keep my homework organized and my work load manageable. It also helps to keep a calendar on my phone, so I don’t have to go flipping through my bag looking for a date. By having multiple places of reference, I am constantly reminded of my schedule and there is less room for error.

One of the most important aspects to remember about your syllabus is that it IS subject to change, and your professor WILL make alterations. College professors aren’t restrained by school assigned curriculum, and therefore can include whatever or however much information they desire. There will be occasions when your professor will cancel class. It is then up to the professor as to whether they wish to set the class back to include the missed information or simply breeze over the subject. There will also be times when the professor simply decides not to include an assignment, which is why it’s important to have a copy that you’ve created.