Coffee, Red Bull, all-nighters … What do these things have in common? They are all associated with a project that bothers students — the final paper. In an effort to do salvage their grade in a course, students always strive for their best on this assignment and hope that it will assist them in getting a better grade on their final transcript.
But that grade does not come without effort. Students have heard the warning from professors, lecturers and GSIs about not starting a paper the night before its due date. Still, many refuse to listen and often run into difficulties getting started.
If troubles arise when brainstorming, there is a place on campus where can always go help — the Sweetland Writing Center, located inside Angell Hall.
The tutors and peer tutors are very willing to help students think of topics that they would be interested in writing about.
“The most daunting thing about writing is the thesis,” said LSA sophomore Ben Taylor, a peer tutor at the Sweetland Writing Center.
His advice for students is to try to write an organized paper and not think too much about the thesis at first.
“Sometimes students won’t discover the real thesis they want until they’re halfway through the paper, or even when they are almost done with the paper,” he said.
Taylor also suggested that students could go back and change the thesis a little bit to fit the paper instead of altering the whole paper to match the thesis.
Students are advised to write about something they feel passionate about, so they shouldn’t let one sentence distract them from that topic.
Students who start the paper at the last minute are advised to sit down and take a deep breath. This is where an outline can be essential to a paper, even though many students are not in the habit of making one.
According to Taylor, a good paper has good organization. but when students are under pressure, they often start throwing words into their papers. Taylor advises people to relax, jot down the main points you want your paper to have and try to outline what you want the paragraphs to look like. It’s important to remain calm and think clearly to write a paper, Taylor said.
Additionally, when writing the paper, be comfortable — but not too comfortable. Play some music that will allow concentration and relaxation at the same time. Do some stretches to let the blood flow better. If caffeine is needed to stay awake, be careful not to over-consume.
The staff at the Sweetland Writing Center recommends that students always plan the paper before typing it on the computer.
The number of pages needed to write might seem daunting, but it will be a lot easier to tackle the paper with a plan.
Most importantly, remembering that there are people available to help — be it friends, professors or tutors at the Sweetland Writing Center — is always beneficial. If students aren’t afraid to ask for assistance, they can more easily write a paper they can be proud of.