So you’ve just arrived onto the campus of your college of university. Over the next couple weeks, you’ve got your first college paper due, and this is a big deal. You’ve written papers for good grades in high school before, is there anything that much different about college? The answer is definitely yes. Writing a successful college paper can be difficult to write because they are not only more specific, but you also have to pay attention to other specifics given by the professor via syllabus or instruction. Does the paper have a specific research topic, a target audience, is this a technical paper, is it a conversational paper, does the paper require credible sources or a works cited page? These are all topics to think about before even beginning. It doesn’t matter what you plan on becoming after college: lawyer, businessman, physician, medical professional, clinical psychologist, or anything in-between. Here are some guidelines in which all writers should adhere to in writing a successful college paper:
1. Write your paper ahead of time.
Regardless of paper length, start your paper early. Professors can easily detect who has taken the time and put forth the effort in writing a good paper, and who put the paper off until the night or morning before it was due. For papers up to 500 words, start two days before the paper is due. For papers 1000-2000 words, start three days early. For the first day, only write between 100-200 words. This initial stage is simply to get you thinking about the subject matter and to get a rough sketch of what your final paper may potentially look like. Any following days, you should have pondered your arguments and supporting paragraphs then finish writing your paper. Writing your paper early can help reduce stress, and sleep more. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, only 30 percent of college students sleep at least eight hours a night. Write your paper early and avoid unnecessary medical complications involved with sleep deprivation and neutralize stress.
2. Take periodic breaks during writing.
‘Writer’s block’ is one of the toughest challenges for all writers, young or old. You can sit at your computer for hours and stare at the computer screen but maybe only produce 50 or so words. It is during these times in which you need to get up and get out of your thinking/writing area. Go for a walk or take a little run. Completely wash your mind of what I like to call, ‘dead space’ and all those ideas that impede your thoughts. A little physical activity is oftentimes the most effective remedy in resetting your writing creativity, as well as helping to get your blood pumping and amped to finish writing this paper.
3. Understand the role of college.
Avoid being distracted by all those extracurricular activities that make homework so unattractive while in college. Remember why college is so expensive and the real reason you are there – to receive an education. College is a tool to help you develop as a human being and to prepare you for a long and successful career. You are paying thousands of dollars each semester to receive an education, not to dance with that good-looking girl you met at the frat house last week. Focus on your grades and you will invariably develop solid working habits and determination that will continue long after you graduate.
Follow these three steps to write successful papers while in college, and to avoid medical risks associated with high stress. Medical research has shown that high stress increases your chance of heart attack, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and obesity. Your college years are some of the greatest years you will experience, so enjoy them as much as you can. Just think how much better you will feel going to that party on a Saturday night knowing you have finished that big ten-page paper due on Monday morning, and no longer have to worry about when it’s going to get done. So make sure to write your paper early, take breaks in-between, and put forth your utmost effort knowing that the Saturday night party is not your only focus.