by Emily Minter
No matter what degree you are studying, at some point you will probably have to write an essay…
Now this is a concept that fills many people’s heart with fear. You’ve probably had other students tell you how boring and hard writing an essay is, and regaled you with stories of their own essay-induced-trauma.
I’m here to put all your fears to flight. To be honest, essay writing can be hard and time consuming – but it can also be very rewarding and, yes, even FUN!
To make writing your essays the best thing about being a student, you need to stop believing the following:
1. Essay = boring and dull
Remember all those boring essays your teachers would make you write on topics you didn’t understand and weren’t interested in? Make sure you do enough research on your topic. You probably won’t use all your research info in your essay, but that’s OK. The more research you do, the better your paper will be!
If you don’t understand your topic, your essay will certainly be very dull, and it will probably put your lecturer to sleep (never a good idea if you want a good mark!); so flick them an email, or visit during consultation times to get a clearer idea of your task.
2. Essay = written under the influence of caffeine
A little bit of coffee can stimulate your brain, but too much will make you confused and irritable. To write a good essay you need to be relaxed and comfortable in order to concentrate, not hyped on caffeine.
3. Essay = formal in style
Your essay needs to appeal to your audience and suit your topic. At uni a formal style is more appropriate, but your lecturers want to hear your voice. An essay imparts your personal opinion, research you’ve done or an argument you’re presenting. By the time you come to writing the essay, you’re the one who’s done all the work, so be passionate and be you; even if it’s not very well written, your lecturer will be able to see that you feel strongly about what you are writing about.
4. Essay = takes forever to write
This misconception has come from back in high school when teachers insisted on marking each of your drafts. Draft… hand it in… wait for it to come back… repeat the process until you have a slightly presentable essay.
Just do it properly the first time! Spend plenty of time researching, take lots of notes, write an outline and then go for it.
5. Essay = handed in at the last minute
Make sure you check your subject outline so you know when assessments are due; every student has spent all night working on an essay due at midnight – I do not recommend this method. After a busy day you are probably very tired, so an attempt at essay writing can only end in disaster.