Get your laptops ready because essay season is here. That’s right, essay season. While many faculties have exams, FIMS is blessed with essay season, which is the time where students get assigned essay after essay after essay. Now even though exams and essays are different, essays can still be super daunting and stressful. So here are six tips to survive essay season.
1. Start early
While you probably don’t want to start a month or two before the deadline, starting early can often be less stressful as you have more time to flush out your ideas, do research and get feedback on your overall paper. It may not be exactly fun to start early, it can save you a lot of time and stress in the long run. Because really, who is calm and relaxed pulling an all-nighter the night before it’s due?
2. Find a good study spot
Just like with exams, having a good study spot is so important when writing a paper. If you need total silence, go to Weldon, Taylor, or even University College. If you need some background noise, head to FNB or even a local coffee shop. If your friends keep you motivated, then write your paper with a study group, but if friends just distract you, probably best to work alone. Learn what works for you and go from there.
3. Break it up into chunks
Has this ever happened to you? You’re staring at a blank document on your laptop as you have a whole paper to write and don’t even know where to start. Yep, we’ve all been there. If you’re experiencing writer’s block, break it down into chunks. Sure, writing 1500 words all in one sitting is daunting, but writing 500 words in three sittings just feels more manageable. So set goals for yourself and divide the workload up over a few days to help you get motivated.
4. Get help
Sometimes you may have a topic or a thesis for a paper, but have no idea how to go about writing it. Other times, you may just need someone to look over your draft and give you some feedback. So whether it’s a TA, a prof or an assistant at the Writing Support Centre, there’s no shame in asking for some help. Plus, having an appointment booked with somebody can help you to stop procrastinating as it’s like a mini deadline before the paper is actually due.
Word of advice though: book a writing support center appointment early because they fill up fast.
5. Reward yourself
Sometimes essays are brutal and stressful. So if you make headway on a paper, make sure to reward yourself. Like if you write the first 500 words, take a break. Go for a walk, have a snack, watch an episode on Netflix, or do something else you enjoy. Also, sometimes it helps to schedule something fun in the evening like going to the movies with friends so that way you feel motivated to get all your work on your paper done during the day.
6. Take care of yourself
While mental health is often related to the stress of exams, your mental health can still be affected if you’re trying to write a paper worth 40% of your grade. So while your paper is important, you’re a human being before you’re a student. So make sure you exercise, practice self-care, take breaks, and seek out counseling or other resources if you need it.
Although essay season can challenging and anxiety-inducing, with these six tips you will be able to survive this stressful time of year. You may want to make sure you’re saying the right things and using the perfect words in your essays, but the truth is, you just need to get some words on the paper for now. So happy writing and good luck with your papers!