On the chase!

Alright, so. I have about 3 days to write my first draft and I still haven’t started. Whoever wants a good mark on their essays, or generally wants their essays to cost more than a pass, should probably not do that. Time management is very, very important and slacking off like me is inexcusable. It is frustrating when time just passes by and you are left with a couple of days to write something which is supposed to take at least 2 weeks of your time. The reason why it’s so infuriating is not because it’s not doable, no, anyone can do anything for any amount of time if they put their mind to it. The reason why I’m getting vexed with myself (and with anyone who doesn’t live up to their potential) is that we can do it guys, we can write amazing things which are engaging, offer a perspective in the readers’ mind, catch the interest of the casual hobbyist and challenge the experts to consider the point of view we are defending or the conduction of further research if that is what we are suggesting. We have it all on the tip of our fingers, everything we need to write something brilliant is in our back pocket, or wherever we keep our smart phones. Literally all we need to do is reach out and instead of looking up silly (but, ok I will consent, comforting and hilarious) memes we just need to type a few keywords to begin our journey, that is to say our research and from there on all it takes is a bit of passion and engagement with the topic. But no, what do we do instead? Procrastinating. Let me just play a game of LoL(which you are most likely to quit raging), let me just see this last episode (which, by the way, is never the last), let me just make coffee (c’mon, who are you kidding? This is probably the 5th coffee you had with this exact same pretext), let me just… and I will do it. Well guess what – the time does not let us just… It goes, it flies, it runs, it’s slipping away. And no, don’t go on about blaming it as every moment of our lives is a gift, blame yourself. Blame yourself for not doing what you were supposed to, for wasting time on things which should not be your priority. Blame yourself… Blame yourself for putting everything in front of what you had to do, so now you have no other choice but to hand in a half-assed piece of shit (which, don’t get me wrong, might be a masterpiece for someone else) which you could have polished to such mastery that it might as well have been published in a professional journal.

So yeah… this might come off as a ramble, but it is not. It is an urge to anyone who still has the chance to do great things with their lives to go ahead and DO IT NOW. Not after the 7th tea, 8th coffee, 15th ranked and 3rd season.

Referencing

As I promised. On a Saturday afternoon, instead of taking my usual nap, here I am, to give you a bit of an insight on how to reference. And if that’s not devotion, I don’t know what is…

So here we go. First of all, I want to clarify that I’m using the Harvard Referencing System, so if you’re using any other, I do not know how useful my tips will be.

So here are a couple of important things, which you may know but always seem to forget about referencing:

  • The references in the referencing list should always be in alphabetical order, not in order of citation in text. I stress on this one, because I always forget it myself… so yeah. Learn your A B C, or take a phone, either way;
  • If you’re unsure of how to reference a certain source, it is better to use book guides to referencing as opposed to the Internet, mainly because when it comes to Academic papers the Internet is pretty unreliable, I mean we can all share our opinion and the way we do it, but it is not backed up by any academic sources, so yeah… That is the reason why here I’m not going to explain how to reference sources per se, but rather give you a couple of hints on how to make sure that you get it right format wise;
  • When you’re doing a huge research it is good to have a word/text/whatever software you are using to type for all your sources only. This way you will know that you have all the references in one place and the second good reason (at least it seems so to me) is that it won’t interfere with your word count. So the idea is as soon as you put the intext citations, you take the link/book/journal/whatever source and you record it in the separate word file. After you’re done with the paper you can easily sort them out alphabetically and copy paste in the end of it. (By the way this advice comes from my tutor, so I don’t really take credit for it. See? I refer you to him 😉 Sorta.);
  • Don’t spend ages on your research, sure it’s good to have reliable sources, but learn to filter them. I’ve mentioned that in the previous topic as well, but you have to understand how important filtering is. If you’re reading a book, go to the index, see what chapter(s) concern you. If you’re online you have it even better – ctrl+f > input key words and BAAM!! You’re done;
  • Whatever referencing system you’re using try to keep it consistent. Actually if you’re using it correctly it must be consistent anyway, that’s how these things are designed.
  • Some online platforms such as instagram, facebook, twitter, etc. are relatively new, however you can still reference them. Most updated referencing guidebooks do include them due to their popularity as seeing as famous people find social media easy enough to share information you can quote their facebook updates.

 

Sooo it turns out

That it’s not as easy to keep a blog alive.

I’ll try to write something on referencing tomorrow, but no promises. School turned out to be a lot more demanding than I expected it to be, but I think I can still manage to squish in some time in between if I manage my time right. Tomorrow I’m gonna be painting eggs with my mom, so I hope to get some good pictures from there as well! 😀

Research!

Alright, so. That’s probably the hardest part (for me) because…

Well, because I do it wrongly. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Look for books/websites/articles/journals/magazines/interviews/online lectures/whatever else concerning your AoI (Area of Interest);
  2. Skim and scan the information;
  3. Filter whatever’s concerning your specific topic;
  4. If you find something interesting on a website, but the website looks a bit fishy eg. there’s no author, date of publication, references to other work try to look for the information somewhere else, because if the source doesn’t seem reliable it probably isn’t;
  5. Always, always, always cross reference and double check the information you found anywhere, even if you know it’s a source which is competent, you should always try to look somewhere else where they can confirm the fact (if it is a fact you are looking for) or back up the opinion or whatever. So, yeah. Besides it gives you a longer bibliography, which is always a plus;
  6. You should probably do around 10 more things that I’m unaware of, but hey! I’m doing just so I can improve my writing therefore don’t rely only on my half-assed advises. 😛

And here’s what you should not do but I find myself doing all. the. f*cking. time:

  1. Read the whole book; Do not do that; most of the information in the book is obsolete to your AoI and will not help you for the essay; if you’re interested in it you can always go back later, when you have time;
  2. Go through the website map and read all the pages;
  3. Read 3 volumes of National Geographic just to find this one interview;
  4. Try to look for online lectures on youtube and end up watching inspirational ted talks (don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with them, it’s just that they are a waste of time. You don’t need someone to tell you that you can do it, you need to go ahead and do it.)
  5. Drink while you read. Trust me, you don’t need that. Cuz drinking leads to dancing and drunk dancing leads to injuries and you don’t need that in the middle of your thesis! Even though if it’s a mild thing, then you probably, maybe want it a little because then it’s you and your lap top and you have all the time to write it.
  6. Apparently there are probably a lot of other things you should not do, like plagiarize, but that’s like self-explanatory and I believe I had my fair share of wine, so that’s all I’ve got for you for tonight.

And no, no pretty pictures tonight. Ok, maybe one.img_5281

3.5k words, say what…

Alright, so we were given this 3.5k word essay to write with no topic or anything, so basically we have to come up with an “area of interest” (whatever that may be…) and a question and then write an essay about it. 🙂

Soooo… to be honest even though people say that I’m good at writing, I don’t really know how I do it, but I’ll sort of lead you through how I do it. And I’m going to write after each day to sort of sum up what I have done for the day on the project, etc. so you get the idea about my own time management, and to be honest so that I get the idea as well, because let’s face it I’m a total loser when it comes to not procrastinating.

So um, plan plan plan would be my best advice. I even planned what I’m going to write here, because otherwise I would get carried away.

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See how hopeless I am?

Ok, obviously now you can see the main points, but let me expand a little bit, because .. I like talking. And you probably like reading if you’re on wordpress.

  • Know your brief!

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That might seem simple enough, BUT I can bet my right middle ring that not many people do read this stuff. The good thing about briefs is that they outline exactly what is asked of you and if the first sentence doesn’t explain it well enough, well trust me on the second it will be much clearer. Besides on most of the backs of the briefs there’s a criteria which is basically how people grade you. You can literally just flip the back, check all the points and if you have them you pass, if not – tough luck; work harder!

  • Brainstorm.

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That’s literally the easiest and most important stage of your whatever project. This is where all of your ideas come together and you can filter the ones you believe you’re most interested in. As you can see on the slideshow I used 3 different markers, because I wanted to separate them in “I’m so in for that”; “if I have to..” and “meh but ok”. That’s when you know what you feel passionate about and especially if you’re writing an argumentative essay it’s really hard to engage with the topic unless you have some personal opinion about it. So yeah, as easy and trivial as brainstorming might seem I think it’s the most crucial part of the whole process, because that’s when you decide on your idea and you explore what you want to write about (if the topic hasn’t been given already).

  • Form an essay question.

This could be tricky as most people haven’t been required to do that before, so they don’t really know how to… Personally I still struggle with that part, but from what I’ve learned so far: if you’ve been given essay topics before try to analyze the questions already given to you – understand their format and how they promote a debate or encourage exploration of a certain topic. The second best thing to do is to research on variety of essay questions both from the Internet and offline resources. There are many examples and one of my ultimate favorite websites for proofreading/etc. is this . To be honest I’ve never used their services, but when I was first doing an argumentative essay their blog posts really helped me out. And then try to figure out in what specific aspect of your area of interest you are interested. For example, I chose (jk, I still haven’t chosen anything, but suppose that I have) Art Nouveau, now there’s a wide variety of topics connected with it such as architecture, illustrations, posters and whatever else decorative you can find out there. And then it’s sort of up to you how to form a coherent question and how to answer it.

Keep in mind that these steps are the beginning of most projects and you can use them wherever. Say I want to play a video game. First I’ll choose my area of interest (MOBA, RPG, MMORPG, RTS, FPS, etc.), then I’m gonna brainstorm all the games of this genre which I have and after that ok, I’m not gonna form a question but I will form a game :))) Or a character or … you get the point. So, yeah… here’s how to start. Don’t be afraid of the blank page. If it helps even start with scribbles, it doesn’t have to be something coherent. Everything starts with an idea and then you slowly build on it, as long as you spend some time thinking about the subject and doing a thorough research (more on that later) I believe you’ll be fine.

So, um. I hope you found something useful in here and I’ll be back with piles of advises on how to do a full blast research. Even though, I still get carried away in it. 😛

Ready, set… go? Go? I think so.

Ok, so like… A few disclaimers here.

First, I’ve never ever ever, EVER in my entire, short, splash of a life have not used this platform. So. If it’s a bit off, don’t judge – it will (hopefully) get better with time.

Second. I sort of wanted to make this blog for like. 6 months? Give or take, but one reason or another I did not (shame on you, lazy bum!). The reason I want to make it is to be able to track my progress in college, however I don’t intent for it to be written in a dry, academic language. My main priority is to keep it fresh, fun to read and of course as a back up alternative, because USB drives are too mainstream.

Also I’ve been told that I write sort of okay essays, which of course by my criteria are shit, but oh well. So, I thought, ok if other people are happy with it, then maybe I can help out to fellow time wasters to make their own essays a bit more impressive. Cuz y’know, I’m a master.

Ok, now that we’re done with this, I suppose it’d be proper for me to give a few words on who the hell am I and for what devil I do what I’m doing. Well, tough luck. I’ve no more idea than any of you reading this.

I can’t tell you anything more than this: I love the sound of high heels on a wooden floor,  the scent of old books, cosmopolitan cities, cocktails and new experiences. I come from somewhere, but I’m not sure where I’m going. Inspiration? Stardust, astrophysics, music, his eyes, among other things. Role models? The eagles in the skies.

My train of thought is hectic, but if you get on it can take you places you never thought existed.