One Woman Academy

November 29, 2009

Crunch Time; or, Destroying Procrastination

     So you’re got a 20 page finals paper and less than a week to do it in because your buddy turned 21, your cat got  an operation and your mom texted you during the procedure, and you broke your favorite new sunglasses. And now you’re freaking out.

      I am normally the blunt person who offers options of improving your game plan, and then gives up on you when you keep flailing like a loser in the kiddie pool. But I’ll be diplomatic this time around. Here’s some simple tips to treat your finals project more like a champ and less like you’re going to lose your sanity before the next semester even rolls around.

 1. Assess what needs to be done and what time you have

     The first thing a lot of people do when a finals project deadline approaches is freak out. Is that helping you? No, it just wastes time, which you simply do not have. If you’ve started your work, figure out how much that has contributed to the overall completion of your project. Found some articles? Start finding your block quotations and key details. Started your outline? Finish it.  Got your introductory paragraph? Clean it up and use it as a focus for your outline. Don’t get scared, step up and be efficient with your time.

2. Read the general summaries of what you’re writing about.

      The scholarly articles that you’ll employ will flesh out the key details, but don’t screw yourself over by forgetting key facts and figures. 

3. Find at least 3 main scholarly articles to draw on.

     These articles can provide on the money details, block quotations, and can easily be attributed to those little facts you remember from lectures that your professor won’t let you cite. Wikipedia is actually a surprisingly good starting point for this step, since the cited articles are often from legitimate sources. (Seriously though, NEVER cite Wikipedia. Your professor will lose all respect for you.)

4.  Outline Outline OUTLINE!!!

     Can your organs function efficiently without a skeleton to support them? Not really. Your outline will give you the necessary logical progress your professor will be seeking while reading your paper. They also make it easy for organizing where you will use those page-eating block quotations. Noting your key details with each point will make it easy to embellish (with all the necessary and pertinent facts) later.

5. Sit down, shut up.

     Professors don’t really care about 90% of your excuses. Humanizing yourself to your professor comes from earlier conversations in the semester, not your pansy excuses. Quarantine yourself, don’t turn on the Internet, and shut out your plans for the weekend. No Thirsty Thursday for you!

      This article by Peg Boyle Single for Inside Higher Ed is more helpful for grad and doctoral students, but offers some valuable insight for undergrads as well. Take a look, hope it helps as finals approach!


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