Saturday, November 21, 2009

On the dangers of essay writing....

Dangers? Yes.

As you may have inferred from my last post, this week has consisted almost entirely of writing papers. I smile when I think of the time it took me to write the health care paper (part of my application to Patrick Henry College). It was a 7-page paper, and yet it took me at least a month--maybe more. How did I suddenly learn to write a ten-page theological term paper in three days? One word: deadlines.

Deadlines are an absolute necessity for me. They force me to write when I don't feel like it, and also turn me into a raving lunatic. Well, not quite, but you don't want to hear some of the bizarre things I've said in the midst of a paper-writing brain fog (Erika just gives me this "look" and I know that once again, I am not making any sense and should either go to bed or write some more--and I unfortunately must pick the latter).

But where does the dangerous part come in? It comes from being entirely focused on writing, to the extent that everything else is blocked out. For example, I have a small electric heater in my room (I love it--it keeps me from growing icicles) and every time I would get up from my computer, I would trip over it. Embarrassing. And how did I literally not hear three girls practicing violins just a short distance away?

And I haven't even mentioned my battle scars yet! (Be very alarmed.) Actually, no, I think I will keep the origin of the scar next to my left eye a closely-guarded secret. Just know that my computer monitor has sharp edges, which my mom has threatened to put padding on (to kid-proof my room. When I get older and smarter she will take them off.)

So yesterday was the deadline for both my Theological Term Paper and my Research and Writing Argumentative Essay. <---- That is the stuff of nightmares. No, really. Last night, after submitting both essays, I had horrible nightmares about italics and footnotes. I kept waking up panicking, wondering if I really had ended my paper with the word with. I almost turned on my computer to check, but then decided that even if it were true that I had...

1) Left notes to myself in my essay (Such as "expand more here")
2) Forgotten to italicize book titles in my footnotes
3) Written a paragraph entirely about myself (what?!)
4) Used the word I throughout the essay (a major no-no) was too late to change anything anyhow! Although one of the first things I did this morning was look at my conclusion to see how I ended it. I was paranoid.

A blog reader mentioned that by now I must be a coffee drinker, but I actually am not. I probably would drink coffee if we had it around the house, but maybe I prefer the bleary-eyed, physically-and-mentally-exhausted look! (I don't....)

So...that's the story of my last week. It sounds rather depressing reading about it, so I should add that college life is not all bad! I do enjoy learning (sometimes!) and I have met some awesome classmates from whom I have learned so much. Their diligence and academic achievements constantly push me to keep going and strive for higher goals. (It's hard going from homeschooling with no one in your grade level to classes with so many people who are ridiculously smart....keeps me humble.)

That's it for now! I'll try to post again next week. Possibly.

[Note: I had originally planned to post both papers now, but I've decided to wait until I get grades and comments back. Shouldn't be too long!]


Erika said...

Battle scar?! Battle scar?! Hang on while I try to reconcile a 2 millimeter scratch above Jessica's left eye with a battle scar... I think it's at this juncture that I should enlighten Jessica's blog readers to what she is referring to here!

So. Jessica dropped something next to her computer, bent down to retrieve it, and in the process, the sharp corner of her computer screen connected with her face. It started bleeding, and under normal circumstances, one would expect a victim of such an unfortunate happening to [1) find a bandaid and 2) finish the research paper] tell everyone about it, naturally!

So, blog readers of my sister's blog, do not fear for her life. She shall be fine when the cut vanishes, in a couple days. (battle scar...)

(Perhaps it would be only fair to say that if Jessica's exaggerating it, I may be slightly under-estimating it, but I think I'm not. But I could be, you know?)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Erika...way to write a book!!

It is SO a battle scar--I just checked, and I can still see it. Take out the "milli" prefix and you'll be closer to the truth. :)

Belle said...

It's at times like these when you find out what you really are- an optimist or a pessimist. Some people (ahem, P.C.) would inevitably be the latter...still is, no matter how much I pressure or try to persuade, said persons continues to look at the negative side of the equation....
Do you have a Christmas break to look forward to? And would you have time to talk if I called you, I don't want to take away from your school...miss you!

Anonymous said...

Annie, your comment made me laugh. Yeah, I can be the "incurable pessimist," but I try to look on the bright side of things (unless exaggeration is more fun). :)

Yes, I do have an amazingly long Christmas break to look forward to...I haven't added up the days, but I think it might be close to a month off.

I would love to talk to you, and I think I have some free time next week. If you called Tuesday evening, I think that would work perfect. Miss you too!!

Anonymous said...

wonderful post, really! I can identify all to well with the panicked feeling of wondering how your paper turned out! I finished writing the group math project Thursday (well, by the time I finished it was Friday . . . ahem!) and was so tired by the time I finished it that I kept switching to 'I' instead of the required 'we'. Scary indeed.

See you in about 3 days!!!

Anonymous said...

Nadea, thanks! About the 'I' and 'we', that's when you use "Find and replace" on Word... :)

I'm so excited to see you!!

Danielle said...

Wow, Jessica, I didn't know you had to turn in your R+W paper *and* your Theo. paper at the same time! Omigoodness! Way to go on finishing them both!

I had to laugh when I read about your wondering if you ended your paper with the word with! That would give me spasms too! And ditto on the humbling experience of college with uber-smart people! I'm still being challenged and the semester is nearly over!

I started the Theo. paper kind of late too, thank the Lord my Mom drove me all over since I was looking for theo. books I needed...but even if you didn't cite a ton of theo. books, don't worry because Dr. E said we should ideally be able to write from only the Bible.

Hope the rest of your school goes well and you get good grades on your papers! God bless!

-Danielle from PHC

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear from you on here, Danielle! Glad to hear that we didn't need to cite a whole lot of theo books...I was panicking about that, wondering how I would find enough books--and then I fell in love with the local college library!! I think I quoted from four total.

Yes, you know how we had one week from the time the prof. emailed us back the rough drafts to turn the final copy back in? She sent mine back on Friday, the 13th...and I immediately knew I was in for a bunch of writing! Your comments on my paper were invaluable. :)

Hope your studies are going well, too--prayin' for ya!

Anonymous said...

must say I approve of you citing from 'the local college'. *Glad you could find it* lol :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes. I had excellent directions from a great college friend. ;)