Writing Under Finals Pressure
It’s the holiday season, “the most happiest time of the year.”
But when the holiday season arrives, the final exams, projects, and of course, papers come with it. I’d like to take this post to talk about writing those final papers.
I think the huge consequence placed on final papers makes them extremely difficult to write. I mean, writing a paper is hard enough without it making up 30% of my final grade. This significance creates the pressure to do well and write like my life depends on it.
And sometimes, I start believing my life really does depend on writing a good final paper. My stressed-out line of thinking could look something like, “If I don’t get a good grade on my final paper, I’ll tank my grade, ruin my GPA, never get a research position or an internship, never get a good job, and move into my parents basement…”
That is the stress talking. When I’m writing, I need to do the talking. The spiral of stressful thinking doesn’t help because it diverts my attention from the necessary task at hand: writing. When the stress creeps up, I remember what my first college composition professor said to reassure the class: writing a paper is a student’s chance to “show off” their hard work.
This is such an empowering way of thinking because it makes the final paper far less intimidating. I can think to myself, “I have everything I need, now let’s just show it off and get to work.”
So with that, a final paper seems more like an opportunity to present ideas, evidence, and style. It’s a chance to show off, to effectively communicate through prose. And stress is far more useful during finals season as the subject of memes and gifs.
Good luck, everyone!