How to Write A Paper for Grad School

Well, first of all, tervetuloa to my first visitor from snowy Finland (who was actually my friend Johanna), and bem-vindo to my first visitor from sunny Portugal (who happens to be a bookcrosser who has a blog here). Also, to my first hits from the state of New Hampshire and the province of Alberta. Welcome. You are special as well.

I have a paper due in the morning, so of course I’m going to write a blog about writing a paper instead of actually doing it.

Behold:

How To Write A Paper for Grad School

Step 1: Picking A Topic

Don’t just pick a topic because it sounds easy, because that’s lame. Where’s the challenge in that? You don’t need to make any great discoveries, but you’ve gotta do the assignment – caring about it a little helps. If your topic gets shot down, either a) amend it and go forward anyway, b) find a new topic (warning: results rarely satisfying), or c) go to your professor and say, “So what do you want me to do?” But not that bluntly, maybe.

Step 2: Prewriting

Yeah, this doesn’t happen.

Step 3: Research

This is the most best part. If you’re me, you get to go and search online in a bunch of databases for articles that may or may not be beneficial, scour the card catalog for colorful books in all sections of the library and possibly libraries in other cities and states, and then curse the fact that it’s 2 AM and you have to wait until the morning for the library to open so you can hunt down your materials like so many artifacts in the Hidden Temple.

Step 4: Realization

This paper is due in like ten days. There’s no way you can realistically read all this stuff you have.

Step 5: Contemplate Your Choice to Go to Grad School

Self-explanatory.

Step 6: Do Anything But Your Paper

Hang out with friends. Call your dad. Talk to your landlord. Do a crossword puzzle. Fold some laundry. Try out a new recipe. Drink. Take a walk. Go to the gym. Watch just one episode of Family Guy. Stare at the wall. The possibilities are endless!

Step 7: Realize That it’s Due Tomorrow

Freak out.

Step 8: Blank Stare

This should be directed towards your computer screen. If your stare lasts for more than four hours, see your doctor.

Step 9: Hot Tub Dip

No, not an actual dip in the hot tub (this should have been covered in step 6) but rather write with fire and passion. Emerge with six words.

Step 10: Just Write Something

Something. Words. Anything.

Step 11: Write Something On Topic

This will start with one word, then expand to five, and then la di da type type type for like an hour and, voila, you have approximately 2-3 more pages than the assignment required, so now you have to delete some of the more purple and verbose stuff. Usually, it’s that time of night where everything makes sense, so send it to your printer, go to sleep, and try to remember to bring it to class in the morning. YOU HAD ONE JOB, DUE DATE.

At least that’s how it always works for me.

Your results may vary.

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