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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)