3000 Word Essay

Right. First things first, we do not recommend this as a regular strategy. Don't sue us.

We've all been there, usually for one of the following two reasons:

Scenario A - Your essay has been eaten by your USB stick/laptop/dog/flatmate
Scenario B - It's the night before hand-in and so far your essay exists only as a scribbled reminder on a post-it note

Yeah, we know - it's scenario B, isn't it? You're not fooling anyone. It's OK, we're all friends here.

First it's time for some positive thinking. Take a deep breath. Believe that it can be done. Take another deep breath. Imagine you're in The West Wing or, more aptly, 24. If Jack Bauer can save democracy in 24 hours, you can write an essay in that time, so stop whining!

Step one:
First things first, you're going to need enough caffeine to keep a small herd of elephants awake. Now is the time to stock up on your caffeinated beverage of preference. We recommend the diet versions, unless you want to emerge with an essay and a half-stone weight gain. Some other things you might need include: easy-to-eat, reasonably nutritious snack foods (bananas and cereal bars = good; family-size bars of Galaxy = not so good); lots of water; all your notes on the topic (you do not want to be hunting for that elusive-but-vital-to-your-entire-argument quote at 3am).

Step two:
Open your laptop and write down everything that springs to mind when you look at the essay title - it doesn't matter how inane your ramblings are at this stage, it's just a way of breaking through the panic. Rejoice in the fact that you now have 600 words or so of what journalists would call 'content'. Have some more caffeine.

Step three:
Utilise the power of the JStor abstract. Countless degrees have been built on this wonderful, wonderful gift to humanity from the benevolent online journal powers-that-be. Type obscure things like '15th-century gender studies' or 'history of macroeconomics' into this goldmine of abbreviated quotability and hey presto, you have the makings of a proper academic essay. Do your references and bibliography as you go along, unless you have a particularly masochistic streak. Under no circumstances should you attempt actual research - as in, visiting the library, making notes, actually taking things in. That has its place - this is not it. Desperate times and all that...

Step four:
Smoosh the results of steps two and three together until they resemble something approaching a logical argument. By this time it's probably around 4am, you are likely to be quite hyper from all the caffeine and your judgment may become impaired. Resist the temptation to add jokes, personal anecdotes and acrostic poems into your essay. Try also not to insert smiley faces, doodles, or impassioned pleas to the lecturer at this stage in the process.

Step five:
Go to bed and take a nap. Or at least do something else for an hour or so. Yes, really.

Step six:
As dawn approaches, re-read your essay with fresh eyes now that the caffeine buzz has begun to wear off. Greet your flatmates as they return from a night out. Bribe them into proofreading your essay.

Step seven:
Spellcheck, sense check, etc. You know the drill. Now get printing!

Step eight:
Hand in essay.

Step nine:
Feel elated. Then feel sleepy. Resolve to never, ever do this to yourself ever again.

Step ten:
Collapse into bed. You did it!

 

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  1. I'm really just after some reassurance here; I have a 3000 word essay due in on Tuesday that I haven't written a word of yet!

    I need to sleep pretty much now as I have to get up at 4-5 tomorrow morning, then I have lectures until 3 so I won't be able to start until then. I do sort of have a clue what I'm writing about and I've written a pretty good essay plan but I'm still only going to have about 6 hours maximum to write the entire thing. And this includes a full reference list in the Vancouver style.

    Pleeeease can someone tell me this isn't entirely impossible, or that they've done a similar thing themselves?!?
  2. What time do you need to hand this in on tuesday?
    You'll probably have to do an all nighter for this one (night of monday to tuesday).

    I mean if you have to get up at 4/5 and you are at uni till 3, you are going to be pretty tired when you get back? So either take a nap and then work, or do some work, sleep and then do everything the rest of the night and what you have left on tuesday.

    It's tricky but possible.
    (Original post by Carpet21)
    I'm really just after some reassurance here; I have a 3000 word essay due in on Tuesday that I haven't written a word of yet!

    I need to sleep pretty much now as I have to get up at 4-5 tomorrow morning, then I have lectures until 3 so I won't be able to start until then. I do sort of have a clue what I'm writing about and I've written a pretty good essay plan but I'm still only going to have about 6 hours maximum to write the entire thing. And this includes a full reference list in the Vancouver style.

    Pleeeease can someone tell me this isn't entirely impossible, or that they've done a similar thing themselves?!?
  3. Yes, but not well.

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