by Haley Schabes
After such a long and wonderful winter break, everyone is a little rusty with the whole school thing. You show up for classes and suddenly all the assignments start flowing in: papers, projects, labs, reading, you name it. Trying to get back into the writing groove and tackling these assignments can be tough, but here are a couple of tips to make the transition from break a little easier.
- Plan ahead
As soon as a writing assignment comes in, put it in a calendar! It can be an electronic one or a printed planner. Whatever works for you! Make it more fun by color coordinating classes or assignments. Staying organized makes all the difference! If you are consistent and do this for all your classes, it will help you prioritize your long-term writing assignments and plan ahead.
- One day at a time
Coming into the semester can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you have clubs or athletics on top of a full semester. Take a deep breath and take one day at a time. Make it a routine by setting aside specific periods of time each day—put reminders on your electronic calendar and don’t make excuses! Setting daily goals also helps you stay on track and prevents you from falling behind.
- Know how you work best
I like to reward myself during a work session with a hot cup of tea and some relaxing music. It just gets me in the mood to write productively. I tend to be more productive in the mornings, too, so I try to schedule my working times in the later morning before lunch. Find out what helps you get motivated and you’ll find that you don’t dread completing assignments. Preparing your mind beforehand and hiding your electronics also assists in preventing distractions while writing. Complete tasks like sending emails beforehand so they don’t pull your focus away later. And don’t be afraid to take breaks; sometimes your mind will sort out what you’re stuck on when you change gears.
- Don’t worry about perfection
When it comes time to sit down and start writing a paper, don’t get caught up on all the little details from the start. Take time to brainstorm and research and find a topic that truly intrigues you. If you’re interested, then it will be easier to keep writing. Once you actually start writing, keep going and don’t look back. Try writing for 30 minutes, or for a full page, or whatever amount works for you. Free writing helps with getting ideas flowing, and you can always go back and revise what you wrote.
- Use your resources
You have a plethora of resources to draw on when tackling a writing assignment. Your teachers can help answer any clarifying questions you have, and using your classmates to discuss the assignment can be very advantageous. Be careful not to rely on your classmates too much; you want to be able to make this paper strongly individual. Last, but definitely not least, you have the writing tutors! We are here to be sounding boards and support you in any part of your writing process from brainstorming to revising. So don’t hesitate to stop by.
Haley Schabes is a senior majoring in business administration and minoring in education, economics, and Asian studies. Her current aspiration is to teach English abroad after college.