I handed in my last ever college essay the other day there (I’m not counting that big scary 12,000 word thing known as a thesis) and it got me to thinking about all the many essays I’ve done. I worked out that, in total, I’ve submitted about thirty essays for my course, none shorter than 1200 words, and most at least 2000, if not 3000. You’d think my room would be cleaner for all that procrastinating.
Here’s how to write an essay.
Make a cup of tea and settle down
Lay out all your books and notes, nice and neatly
Better get some pens
Better get some differently coloured pens
Now, you’re all sorted and ready to go. Turn on computer, open up Word ... check email. Just in case there’s anything majorly important.
Ahh, like all those Facebook notifications.
.....better check them. Just to get them out of the way like, so you won’t be distracted later when you really get into it.
Half an hour later, you find yourself on your friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s friend’s baby’s dog’s whatever’s page looking at photos of total randomers at a club you don’t know drinking bright blue cocktails and dancing on someone’s table somewhere at an afterparty... better get back to work.
Better start work.
Better get more tea first, just so you don’t have to get up when you really get rolling.
Check email... just in case you got one while you were at the kettle.
Check phone, just in case someone texted you.
No one did.
Actually you know what, you should probably check the real life mail box in case there were actually letters delivered.
There weren’t. Make some toast and check your email again, in case anyone emailed you while you were at the post box.
Ok no, actual work. Type out your essay question. And your name. Maybe your student number. Stare at computer screen for a few minutes ... try typing something, no erase it, type something else... re read question, glance briefly at notes, internally berate yourself for drawing pictures instead, type something else, re-write it, give up in frustration.
Bitch and moan to yourself about how hard this is!!! Go back on facebook to bitch and moan to everyone else about how hard this is, then check to see if your friends are bitching and moaning also about how hard the essay is, so you can make yourself feel better about the lack of work done so far.
Make more tea to calm yourself down. Maybe more toast. Maybe you need more coloured pens to make notes first. Basically, re-write all your scribblings in pretty much the exact same words, but in lovely colours and with bullet points.
Excellent. That was some good work. Back to the essay. Fingers hover over keyboard ... ok wait now, what did those notes say??
...Tea break. You deserve it cos of the hard work you just did.
Check email again, in case someone emailed while you were at the kettle. Facebook!! So-and-so has commented on your status ... “i know wat u mean, i only hav 500 words done!! Grr!”
Hmm. You only have the title written. Shit one.
Make more toast.
Lie on the floor and moan. Maybe punch something. (Not your keyboard... i lost an ‘I’ button that way...)
Type something. Ok, that’s good! Type a bit more ... and a bit more ... oh dude you’re on a roll now, look at you typing away, this is freakin awesome, you’ll be done with this crap in no time, there’s another sentence, and another, oh and another ... then you make the fatal mistake of checking your word count.
Type another few sentences and check again. 223 words. And again. 276 words. And again. 310 words.
Check email, just in case someone ... ahh you know. Kettle.
Text your friend about how shit it is that you’re stuck inside doing this essay. Text another friend about going out at the weekend to celebrate finishing the essay. Text your other half to bitch about the essay. Text your mother to find out what she’s up to. Realise that you’re texting your mother for something other than, ‘can u make me dinner plz’ and snap yourself out of it. Back to work.
Re-read what you’ve typed. Type more stuff then realise your repeating yourself. Erase. Check notes. Open book at random page and throw it away again when page 192 happens to not have the answer in a neatly packaged 3,000 word essay. Seriously, how do they expect you to write this if they can’t even give you decent reading material???
Back on Facebook to bitch about your useless lecturers. Totally their fault if you fail. Check to make sure everyone else is online and also not doing any work.
Make more tea. Check email ...
Repeat the above several times. Dinner should probably fit in there somewhere. Then, at about one o’clock in the morning when your room looks like it came straight out of a catalogue because of all the tidying and you find yourself agreeing to do an online survey about dog food for the dog you don’t have, you suddenly sit up dead straight, click out of facebook and hotmail and MSN and hammer out those goddamn 3000 feckin words in about two hours
Hand in essay next day and complain bitterly about how you got no sleep last night cos you were doing the essay. Seriously, FML, dude.
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