The Emotional Roller Coaster of Constructing an Essay ~ Stephanie Burleigh
The time has come again, all too quickly for me to attempt to construct the perfect essay, but first, COFFEE. Before I even open my laptop, grab a pencil, or decipher my assignment I must first indulge in the most delicious bean water known to man. I like my coffee strong, black, and piping hot. It helps relax me, while jolting my mind into focus mode. The next step is to gather my dogs, put on my comfiest pajamas, settle on the sofa, and let the process begin.
When reading this, one will realize just how anal I am with my writing process, they may even call me crazy, because I do in fact often feel crazy in the midst of a new assignment. Kate Burgess, interdisciplinary student puts it best, “I’m a bit of a scatterbrain at first, but my mind settles eventually, like a snow globe.”. Once a topic has been settled, my mind races, and I struggle to jot down my thoughts. Then, when they are all out there on a fresh piece of notebook paper, I then begin to feel at ease. Of course, only after I organize those thoughts from the strongest, most important to the least. Next, I try to research my topic so that I am not only focusing on my ideas, feelings, and experiences to support this paper (my goodness, what a sad little paper it would be without research). I proceed to decipher my research, make sure I am happy with what I have found, that my sources are credible, and that my opinion has not changed. If by chance my opinion has changed, which has happened more than once then, I am back to square one with a fresh pot of coffee brewing and a blank sheet of paper.
Once I finally have an idea of where I am going with my essay, I take a break. One of my favorite things to do while taking a day off from the writing process is to talk my boyfriends ear off about what my assignment is. He knows English is my favorite subject, so he is used to hearing all of this. I don’t just have a normal discussion with him though, I must tell him every detail about how I feel about this topic, what I have learned, and why I feel passionate about it. Let’s face it after diving in and spending an enormous amount of time researching something I am inclined to feel passionate about the topic. I may hate it with a passion, but passion is passion. Thankfully, my boyfriend is incredibly patient and is used to me gabbing on. He has learned that this is how I get all my feelings out and process my information.
The following day I try to form my body paragraphs. I use Venn diagrams to do so. I put the topic of the paragraph in the middle then draw little bubbles off with all my theories, quotes, and personal experiences. After the bodies I try to come up with a thesis statement, I typically scribble this the top of my Venn diagrams because it never is a concrete statement. I change it and second guess it hundreds of times. After that, I yet again call it a day.
After this, I try to move onto a rough draft with an intro, a working thesis, body paragraphs, a rebuttal if necessary, and a strong conclusion tying everything together. I don’t stress about this being perfect, but I expect it to have the looks of a functioning essay. This is also the time I am incorporating my sources and take a shot at making a work cited page. I then edit the crap out of it, second guess it all, then validate everything. When I feel as if I have done all I can do to improve my essay I send a draft to smart thinking for a review and ask some questions.
The next step is my final revision, when I take the input and change things up again. My concluding step on my list is to use text to speech reader, so that I can hear my essay outload and make sure everything flows. If it sounds okay I then submit my essay with all twenty fingers and toes crossed that I didn’t forget something, or that I didn’t submit the wrong draft (which I’ve been known to do a time or two). Finally, I get a wave of sweet relief followed by yet again, making a huge pot of coffee. Lastly, I must do what every college student does and binge Netflix in complete exhaustion before proceeding to a long, well earned nap.