Monthly Archives: November 2016

Common Mistakes in College Paper Writing

essay-writing-mistakes

Writing assignments for college credit take all different shapes and requirements—and of course, present a variety of stresses. Ultimately, though, a paper is a great opportunity to explore your own ideas and express independent conclusions. Even if you admit to not being the best writer, there is room for success in college paper writing, as long as you see the pitfalls coming and divert via the route of clarity, logic, and compliance.

To follow are some common mistakes students make in college paper writing. Take heed and weed costly errors out of your prose; after all, mistakes are less often related to your skills as a writer, and more often the result of carelessness and bad habits.

Failing to Understand the Assignment

Not taking time to comprehend what a paper assignment calls for is a huge error. Most professors offer ample detail about what they want, so get into the fine print. If the professor assigns 500 words, meet that expectation. Don’t short the essay by 19 words and assume it’s fine because it’s still “in the ballpark.” It is always better to go over by 5 to 10 words (no more) than to miss a word-count benchmark. And don’t question this part of an assignment: there’s method to a prof’s madness in requiring that writers get it said in so many words.

Get clarity, too, on documentation requirements: are in-text citations appropriate, or does this instructor craves footnotes? Ask about how much and what kind of source material you should access and annotate, then dig into research.

Informal Language and Colloquialisms

An academic paper should be presented in formal, academic English; this is no time for “street talk” or for “text speak.” A good rule of thumb is to avoid abbreviations altogether (that includes contractions) and never to rely on slang or jargon. For example, the phrase “a lot” seems to convey something like “many” or “much.” In all actuality, though, “a lot” presents like a noun, especially with the article in play. The phrase is vague; leave it out.

Steer clear of everyday expressions and “trendy” language too, unless the professor indicates this college paper can accommodate it. Elevate tone, elevate content, and elevate end results.

Using First Person and Direct Address

Academic writing typically calls for some amount of objectivity, where first-person announcements like “I feel” or “I contend” aren’t the best options. After all, it is your essay, so isn’t the “In my opinion” construct a given? Take a step back. Distance yourself from the “speaker” platform by using “the author” in place of first person; just don’t get too carried away so that you end up sounding like a stuffed shirt!

And direct address (writing “you this, you that”) is just one more common mistake—and it’s particularly dangerous. Plug in “one” to keep from putting words into a reader’s mouth and to avoid making the reader feel targeted.

Misusing Basic Punctuation

One major pitfall for most writers, especially in college paper writing where authors are spread thin and in a rush, is punctuation. Being comma-happy means your prose is interruptive and stilted; not having an independent clause on either side of a semi-colon confuses a reader. Slow down and edit carefully. In fact, keep a style guide on hand: make use of writing resources available in the library and via online platforms, because every writer needs instant access to the rules and regs regarding grammar, punctuation, and usage.

The Best Quotes to Beat Procrastination

procrastination-writing

Procrastination is a particularly cunning beast. It lures you into feeling of false comfort and then disappears, leaving you face to face with panic and work overload monsters. And be sure: it will never be your ally in this battle.

Luckily, you don’t have to be the first person to fight the traitor. Lots of great people have conquered it and developed their own successful tactics and strategies. We’re not going to instruct you on the ways to do so. The ultimate goal is to inspire you to find the one that works particularly for you.

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

The saying belongs to Pablo Picasso. We tend to think artists and the creatives in general are usually in conflict with schedules, deadlines and all kind of organizational pressure. However, Picasso’s example vividly demonstrates that even the most unconventional thinkers realize: getting things done is a precondition of success.

“It is awfully hard work doing nothing.”

A brilliantly witty playwright Oscar Wilde, obviously knew a thing or two about life in general and procrastination in particular. Postponing a task till the very last minute is actually exhausting, since the looming perspective of the need to face it never leaves your mind, bringing you to the state of constant anxiety. Eventually, you get tired of procrastinating, not of the actual dealing with a problem. Add the feeling of guilt and you’ll get the bitter cocktail no one really wants.

“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt couldn’t get it wrong. Fear of failure is one of the most common reasons of delaying work on a task. The trick is that it automatically leads to failure. Mistakes often lead to fascinating experiences. They make you ask for help, get to know more people and generally go down the path of self-development. Procrastination is a way to nowhere. In fact, it’s not even a way.

“If and When were planted, and Nothing grew.”

This precious piece of wisdom says it all. You don’t get to see the results of your work unless you actually do something.

Of course, the most complicated thing here is to make the first step towards change. However, you may use a couple of simple tricks to make the transition far more manageable.

  • Divide the task into small chunks. Let’s say you’ve got a research paper to write. Most of the time you’ll be reluctant to even think about it, taken all the weight of responsibility into consideration.
    Why not try a different way? First, you may google the topic to find proper sources to quote in your work. Then you get to the point of formulating a thesis statement. After that, you craft a detailed outline. And then fill in the gaps!
  • Push through the hard times. Perseverance is often the key element that brings you to the successful completion of the task. This will definitely require significant effort. Nevertheless, once you conquer the first obstacle, the following ones get a little easier.
  • Praise yourself! Positive reinforcement does miracles to one’s productivity. Having finished a small task, reward yourself with a little prize. A piece of fruit, time to surf social media, a short nap – something that makes you feel awesome emotionally and physically.

Any struggle gets easier when you’re no alone. When it comes to fighting procrastination – you definitely have a great crowd to accompany you. So get inspired and get down to work!