Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Mo(u)rning Has Come

“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.”

This is my favorite quote from Dracula and I think it's entirely applicable to this paper as well. (I used it in a previous blog post, so I might as well come full-circle by using it again.) This has been a long semester, but it's been a good semester. While at times things seemed dark, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are almost through!

This paper has been a bittersweet experience for me. As an English major, I love to write... but I hate being given parameters for a paper. I hate it so much that I can have the whole paper basically written but then I refuse to do the final page or two. I don't know why, but I guess it's just my protest against authority. (Like when your mom told you to clean your room as a kid and you knew you needed to but you wouldn't because someone else told you to.)

With this procrastination habit in mind, I was afraid of writing this paper. I knew from the beginning that I just wouldn't want to do it and that I would be pulling an all-nighter just to finish it in time. Luckily, Professor Burton is a little smarter than I am when it comes to writing papers and he had us do annoying little tasks and blog posts. Or at least that's what I saw them as in the beginning.

I hate when teachers give me busywork and that's what I thought Professor Burton was doing to us. I was sick and I didn't want to do more than I had to on this assignment. But, I had to do all of the little blog posts and research and thankfully I did. If it hadn't been for those seemingly annoying tasks then I would have been up at all hours of the night in an attempt to finish my paper. Because of these tasks, I got to sleep (Unheard of for a college student, right?) and I was actually happy to finish the semester. My paper wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but that's just that for me.

Now that I'm finished with the paper and this class, I have that bittersweet taste in my mouth. I'm happy to be done, but I feel a little sad that I don't have a project to work on. I like keeping busy and this paper, and all of the buildup to the paper, kept me more or less on top of things and that was nice. Now I don't have that anymore and it's a little disappointing, although relieving.

Basically what I learned from this assignment is:

  1. The best papers are hard work. Sure, papers can be easy to write if you have a knack for writing, but that doesn't mean it's a quality paper.
  2. The best papers take a lot of research. Before this paper, I always skimped on my research. I didn't know how to research as well as I would have liked, but I also just hated the task of researching. But, this class taught me that researching can be interesting, especially when you find that perfect piece of evidence to support your claim.
  3. The best papers take time. Where you spend your time shows where your dedications are. This paper became a big deal for me because I spent so much time on it. Because I spent so much time on it, I grew to love it and you should always love what you're writing.
  4. The best papers make you step out of your comfort zone. I was not excited to write a comparison paper. That's my weakest form of writing and I didn't think I could do it because I had never tried it. But, I managed EIGHT pages of comparisons. And I now have something to be proud of.

This assignment was hard and I can't pretend to be sad that it's over. However, I will miss certain things about it, especially my growth process. I'm a different person than I was when I entered the class. I'm a better writer and I'm more excited to write and to take pride in my work.

(I'll post a link to my paper later tonight; I just wanted to get this up asap.)

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