Okay, we kind of need someone to talk about this. Managing assignments. And I’m talking about the big ones. The ones that are worth 30%, 40% or even 60% of your grade for a course. These kinds of assignments become more common the further you get in your Bachelor of Arts (no idea about the other degrees). So, to all the aspiring BA students, I’ve created a step-by-step guide to prepare you for the big assignments.
- Before the semester even starts, read about the assignments on Canvas. Read the criteria, the due date, instructions, EVERYTHING.
- Put the assignments into a calendar. If you use a diary, put it in your diary (I like Google Calendar – the notifications are great).
- When you’re in classes or doing readings, think about how the content can apply to the assignments coming up.
- *Write up a thesis statement – Figure out what you’re arguing in your essays. No point in writing one if you don’t have anything to argue about.
- **Figure out the themes you want to write about.
- Think about old readings from courses you’ve done in previous semesters – it really makes the research process easier.
- Start writing at least 2 weeks in advance.
- Do not touch it for a day after you finish writing.
- ***Final read through.
- ****Submit it.
- *****Don’t talk to other students about your essay for at least 48 hours.
*Make an argument in your essay. It gives you some direction on where you’re going to be writing. BE SPECIFIC. In my first year, I made an essay which was very high school-like where it was broad and general and each paragraph was about something COMPLETELY different. Make sure everything in your essay is related and flows.
**Themes may not be limited to one paragraph each, but they should be related to each point which is needed to be discussed for your essay. For example, in my final semester, I wrote about Futurama and I made sure I knew that I was going to write about transhumanism and posthumanism. For planning, I wrote the notes which I found important under each of the headings, I could then write a series of paragraphs on different points within the categories.
***This is important. We’re not in high school anymore. You need to do this. Read the essay like you’ve never read it before. If it helps, get someone else to read it to see if it makes sense to them. Especially after leaving it for a day, it’ll all seem fresh.
****Make sure you’re submitting before 11:58pm when the essay is due at 11:59pm. I’ve never done this, but so many do. Everyone is trying to submit at the same time which means Canvas needs to render and process everyone’s essays AT THE SAME TIME, it will cause delays. Even submitting at 11:50 could cause some delays and it could take a few minutes. Give yourself a few hours. My friends have told me too many horror stories of waiting for an assignment to be submitted. I try to submit the day before or midday if it’s due at 11:59pm.
*****Don’t be that student. I don’t think I need to say anything further. Don’t be that person who compares essays. Those people are annoying. It’s just like exams, don’t ask me what I got for question 3 when I leave the exam room. LEAVE US ALONE, YOU’RE FREAKING US OUT.
There you go. My tips and advice on how to prepare for your huge assignments which you will face in your time at university. Now get going. Your essay is due at midnight tonight.
Tomoki VincentTomoki Vincent
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