So there’s an essay to write and you don’t even know how to start… Been there. Several times. More times than I’d like to admit. But it needs to be done. So here’s some tips I’d recommend taking to kick that essay’s butt.
Oh god, I know. I did A Level English in school and scrapped through with a C thanks to the world’s most erratic teacher. Every time they told us to plan I decided it was a waste of time and that I’d be better off just writing and finding out how it went from there.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you should plan. It doesn’t matter how simple or complex your plan is. Having a vague idea of how you want to focus each paragraph and how it’s going to link to the next takes half the stress away from writing an essay for me.
And if you need help with planning each paragraph – do some reading and jot down some quotes. Use these to shape your plan and there – two birds, one stone.
2) Learn how to reference
This is a warning for anyone who’s about to embark on a university journey – referencing is fresh hell. I’m still not 100% I’m doing it right every time – especially when I have to refer to tv and film all the time.
The best advice I have here is to read about it, educate yourself the best you can on referencing. Make sure you’re using the correct style, check your page numbers, make sure it’s alphabetical-ised properly. There’s nothing quite as disheartening as getting an essay back with the notes – ‘could have given you a high mark but this referencing isn’t correct’.
3) Write about something that you’re interested it (within the limits)
From my point of view, I don’t understand why anyone would take a degree in something that didn’t genuinely interest them. But even though I love mine most of the time – there have been crap assignments.
I had a class in first year which is notorious for being a load of unfathomable waffle that doesn’t really benefit you in any way. I’m not lying when I say we spent a whole term exploring the topic of shadows as part of a film module. One week, we literally had to make shadow puppets for two hours. The essay I wrote for that module wasn’t great at all.
So, try and tailor the essay to something that interests you without straying from the question. I tend to either write about things I know and love (if they fit) or the opposite. Of course your personal opinions aren’t welcome in an academic essay but it definitely helps when you are interested by what you’re writing about.
Thanks for coming back for another day of #BackToUniWeek. Make sure you tune in tomorrow. There’s a chance I’m in a third year induction class when you read this, so pay for me.