Writing papers tends to be one of the most stressful aspects of college. Worse, you know that doing a bad job or failing to submit on time will impact your grade. Students who are new to paper writing tend to suffer from many of the same challenges. The good news is there are solutions to all of them.
1. Lack of Time
Professors always think they’re giving you enough time to complete papers — but it may not feel that way to you. However, unless you’ve taken on far too many classes or other commitments, you should have enough time to complete everything: you just need to schedule time to work on assignments in advance. Key to this is having a study schedule. Block out time to work on papers and other other homework each day and specify exactly what tasks you’ll focus on.
2. Writer’s Block
Even if you do make time in your schedule for paper writing, you may struggle to achieve much when you sit down to work. A blank document is always intimidating, and it can be difficult to know where to start. There are a couple ways to approach this. One is to leave the opening paragraph until later. Instead, begin with the area you’re most confident about writing, such as something you found particularly interesting during your research. It’s also crucial to keep writing once you get started — don’t stop to perfect your sentences until the end. This way, you won’t lose momentum.
3. Not Enough Sources
A common strategy is to pick sources to use for your paper based on their abstracts. However, when you come to read the articles in full, you may find that they don’t contain the information you need. If you’ve left yourself plenty of time to finish the paper, this will be less of an issue — which is one reason why your study schedule is so important. In addition to looking for a better source yourself, you can ask the librarians at your campus library for help.
4. Moving in the Wrong Direction
It’s common when you’re inexperienced in writing papers to become distracted by a particular idea and to start moving in a new direction. This is a problem if you end up failing to meet the objective of the assignment.
Prevent this from happening by creating an outline for your paper that details which arguments you’ll cover before you write anything. In addition, it’s important to keep returning to instructions for your assignment to ensure you’re on the right track.
Plagiarism can be both intentional and unintentional. Never believe you’ll get away with intentional plagiarism — your professors will check your papers thoroughly to ensure you haven’t copied sources or another student’s (past or present) work. You can avoid unintentional plagiarism by making sure you paraphrase ideas (taking notes in your own words helps with this) and by using citations for all your sources.
6. Unresponsive Professors
Sometimes, you need extra guidance from your professor to ensure you’ve understood the instructions for an assignment. However, if your professor is busy, you could be waiting for days for a response. The best option in this case may be to continue as well as you can and make any changes later. Remember you can also use office hours to talk to your professor if you don’t receive a prompt reply to your email. Plus, you can use services on campus, such as support from the writing center.
You’ll find it much easier to write papers if you have a quiet place at home where you can study. You won’t find this in a dorm room — you need to live off campus. You can find a room for rent in Barrie near Georgian College at Arcadian Students. As well as the desk in your fully-furnished apartment or townhouse, you’ll be able to use the onsite study rooms. Book a tour to check out the floor plans and community amenities for yourself.