Tips to get through the finals week essay

Emma Knudson, Staff writer

Just a few days ago, I was complaining about how ready I was for February to end. Or, it feels like a few days ago.

May is already flying by, and as finals week looms ever closer, all major deadlines are being thrown at us. The sensation of drowning is palpable across campus. What makes these deadlines worse, however, is if the deadline is for that extra-long final paper.

Since writing is my only true homework anymore as a creative writing major, I feel that I’ve learned how to tackle long essays effectively, especially when it comes to being a serial procrastinator. Here are some tips that may help you get that final essay finished in a more timely and effective manner.

Leave your phone in your car, at home, or turn it totally off: If there’s one thing I’ve learned whilst writing essays, it’s that I’m easily distracted. It may be because I don’t want to write it? But who wouldn’t want to write a seven-page paper on a subject they know nothing about? Come on. If you’re one of those easily-distracted people, then take those distractions away. If it means venturing to an area with no Wi-Fi for a few hours in seclusion, then so be it. Distractions turn a two-hour project into an 11-hour project, and I know that from experience.

Carve out time to read through your sources before starting you paper: It may feel like a huge (and potentially boring) time-suck, but it’ll make your paper fly by, especially when you highlight the quotes you intend to directly use in your paper.

If procrastination runs too thick in your blood to avoid it, manage your little time well: I once had a minimum-15-page final research paper that I didn’t start until 24 hours before it was due.

Because I’ve found a way to manage my time whilst on the edge of a stress-induced aneurysm, I did just fine on the paper and got a B in the class. If you must procrastinate, make sure that you’re able to devote those last hours entirely to your paper. This means being a good student and being available in other areas, and being adept at problem solving and last-minute time management whilst being meticulous in your work at hand. Don’t procrastinate beyond your ability to manage that small amount of time well.

None of us are as good at writing essays as we think we are. Read through your paper. Make changes. I know this isn’t really a tip geared toward finishing a long essay, but with long essays, you are more prone to making easy (and glaring) mistakes.

Become adept at forcing a passion for a little while: if you can pretend you love to write about your subject, it’ll be easier (and therefore faster) to write. You’ll have more to talk about, and therefore reaching that minimum page count won’t be so arduous. How do you force a passion in a subject you have no interest in? Just fake it.

A lot of college is just faking it. Young adulthood is just faking it until you make it. Approach essays with the same uncertainty, lack of confidence, and fear for the future! It’s all easy!