Strathclyde Telegraph

The Six Stages Of Essay Writing

By Georgia Wilkinson

 

As someone who spends a lot of time writing essays, I’ve identified the major stages of the process and put them into a quick spotter’s guide – just to help you work out why I’m crying the next time you see me in the library.

Stage One: ‘Procrastilaxation’

The most enjoyable stage. A couple of weeks before anything’s due, a wee voice in the back of your head pings up saying “Hello, you have an essay due in two weeks. Don’t worry it’s a while away. Return to Netflix”. You feel proud of yourself for remembering it and start the next episode, safe in the knowledge the deadline is ages away.

Stage Two: Pretending To Be Productive And Feeling Smug

About a week before the deadline, you pack up a pad of paper and your computer and find a table in the library. It’s important that, once you’ve unpacked, everyone knows how hardworking you are, so the first ten minutes of your session are spent stacking notebooks in order of size, the arranging pens by size, all of which must be perfectly parallel to your laptop which must be perfectly parallel to the edge of the table. Once you’re happy with the picture – and the filter, and the caption, and every hashtag possible – then you remember that no one can study without a drink. Then you better just quickly check Facebook, and twitter, and before you know it you’ve spent an hour on the internet doing nothing. You get some books. You skim through the books while planning your tea. You write the title of the essay across the top of the page (very important), think a bit more about the food you’ve got in the house, and whether you should stop at the shop on the way home, and look it’s five o’clock and time to go home! You congratulate yourself, go home, and spend the night boasting about how you spent the whole day at the library.

Stage Three: Denial

Don’t worry. You’ve got tons of time left. It’s not even that hard/long an essay. You’ve done loads of work, you even spent an entire day at the library.

Stage Four: The Fear

The most productive stage. It hits everyone at different times, but is usually most obvious when it’s three in the morning the night before it’s due, and you’re staring at your screen over a pile of crumpled Red Bull cans, trying to decide to reference as an article included in a journal or an article included in an anthology and not sure if what you’ve written is even in English, never mind if it makes sense.

Stage Five: Giving Up

You’ve been hunched over a desk forever. Your eyes hurt. Your shoulders hurt. You’ve been staring at the piece of trash essay for far too long. Academic success doesn’t mean everything. Bill Gates is a dropout. You don’t even care anymore.

Stage Six: The Fallout

From the day you emerge from the library, and blinkingly step into the sun, you’re free. There is no longer a deadline looming over you. You stagger home, feast on the food of kings (supernoodles and cheese), crawl into bed and put on Netflix. A wee voice in the back of your head pings up saying “Hello, you have an essay due in two weeks. Don’t worry it’s a while away. Return to Netflix”. You feel proud of yourself for remembering it and start the next episode, safe in the knowledge the deadline is ages away.

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