Monday, November 29, 2010

the not-exactly-freaking-out post

A week from tomorrow, I have two 15-20 pages papers due.  I have written exactly zero words of these papers.  I have a rough outline for both of them, and I've done more than half the research, and I wish I had something else productive to add to this list because I am in a near panic.  I say "near" only because I know it will get worse six or seven days from now, so I don't want to overstate my case just yet.  Last fall I wrote a 13 page paper in 2 days (and got an A!), so I know this can be done-- but it was an undergrad class, and I was younger and stupider then.

Then six days after that, I have another one due.  and then the day after that, an exam.  And THEN, I will be done.  For almost six weeks.  You should see the stack of (fun) books I have waiting to be read.  I will sink into them like falling into marshmallow fluff. or jumping into a huge pile of (dry) autumn leaves. or diving into orange jello.  or maybe I will just sleep for a week. except wait-- then I'll have to cram all my Christmas preparations into ten days.  But at least that will be FUN.

But this next stretch won't be.  I'll try not to subject you to too many panicked posts.  Maybe I will learn something really interesting to share along the way, but otherwise I doubt you'll hear from me much until the semester is over.

And since I'm on the whine train anyway, could this damn cold just please go away?  I've had it since last Tuesday.  If I take a Nyquil, I can sleep, but then I'm too groggy to get anything done the next day.  If I don't take a Nyquil, I can't sleep.  #viciouscycle #ohwaitthisisn'ttwitter


  1. Give yourself permission to write a B- paper. You'd have to work hard to do worse than a B- (trust me, you are really smart!!)

    Then just get it over with. You are a great student. Try to enjoy the things you are learning.

    You'll do great!!

  2. I would say "do what Cheery-o says" but I know you can't. Because I couldn't either. I'd be like you, on the verge of panic, but not quite flung over the edge yet.
    Deep calming breaths then, and perspective. All I can offer.

  3. hugs!

    make sure you have strong sources, make your point and get out--that was one of my prof's mottos about writing a paper. I can easily ramble on for 15-20 pages without adding much to the info on the first 7. Spare yourself the pain and go for Good Job, not OMG THIS IS THE MOST EXQUISITELY WRITTEN RESEARCH PAPER EVER I WEPT, WEPT I TELL YOU JUST LOOKING IT OVER. I AM FRAMING A COPY FOR MY MANTLE AND GETTING IT A TEENSY BRASS SPOTLIGHT ALL ITS OWN THIS IS WHY I BECAME A PROFESSOR!

    Yes, I HAVE always secretly believed that my professors frame my work, btw. :)

  4. Thanks, y'all, I appreciate the supportive words more than I can say. Things are actually going pretty well at the moment-- 2 out of the 3 papers are taking shape. The third one is a disaster, but I still have five days to whip it into shape.

    I don't think cheery-o meant to actually aim for a B-, just that it is less intimidating to write a paper if you're not expecting greatness (as Diva said). I have a line in my head, which I think Bill Kittredge said, that is perfect (ark) for the perfectionists among us, which goes something to the effect of, "If you get stuck [w/ writer's block or panic or whatever], lower your standards." Has helped me through many a bad moment in writing.

  5. OK, *NOW* I'm freaking out. Yipes. This is insane. She already gave me an extension (I didn't ask, she offered), and I'm still practically tearing my hair out. It has to get done tonight. I just don't know enough to write this crap (this is the previously mentioned paper that is a disaster). I can finesse it, I guess, and that's what I have to do, because I HAVE to turn it in tomorrow morning. But it makes me kind of sick to do that, you know? I want to understand my subject and feel like I have something to say. I hate writing bullshit. But I just don't get this, and I have to turn the paper in, so voila. one truckload of shit, backing up and downloading now.

    OK. Oddly, I feel better. :-)