Overwhelmed with writing your paper?

Get it together & organize your life.

The due date for our ethnographic essay is looming in our very near future. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until the last minute to get it done. Sit down, grab a notebook, open a laptop, and plan the next few weeks. After all - you want your last month and a half as an undergraduate to be fun, right?

In class this week we learned how to plan for our final research paper. While it might feel counterproductive to spend an hour or so organizing what needs to get done — when you could actually be getting things done — it’s in your best interest to plan first and do second.

I think the hardest part of starting a project it just that — the start. It’s overwhelming and intimidating to think of all the steps you must take or address before you actually begin writing. It’s much easier to focus on more pressing matters - like other assignments that are due sooner - and let your research paper slip to the back of your mind.

I’m sure many of you (myself included) are planning to take advantage of the three week period without class to really crack down and write your paper. While three weeks seems like plenty of time to write, it’ll go by faster than you think. With graduation nearing, you’re probably deep into the job search -which is practically a job by itself. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll have other classes to focus on in upcoming weeks as finals creep closer and closer.

There’s no one way to tell someone the best way to organize themselves as many people have different methods that work for them. Some of these methods might be in the form of charts, calendars, electronic reminders, or just relying on fallible human memory. I think the most important idea we learned from class that applies to everyone’s organizational method is assigning deadlines for each aspect of our paper and sticking to those deadlines. This tactic will help diminish some of the pressure felt from such a huge assignment. It will also make you a more successful student and (hopefully) save you a few all-nighters in the process.

First, write down everything you need to get done for your paper. Next, identify which components should be completed first and when you should start working on each of these assignments. Finally, record your deadlines in whichever method that works best for you.

If you stick to your deadlines, you should have no problem getting your essay done. Unfortunately, some might find that sticking to your own deadlines can be the biggest challenge.