Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mission Completion!

Much like the Little Einsteins, I had a mission this week. It was not only the usual (full time job, full time children, full time husband, organizing a community fundraiser, laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping- on a budget with coupons, etc), but this one was for school.

Monday I had to present my paper in my Recent American History class at UAH, but the actual paper wasn't due until Friday. If you're just catching up, I am taking a few undergraduate classes to fulfill a pre-requisite before I start a Masters program in History at UAH. I graduated with a minor in history, so I just need a couple of classes. I think I want to teach at a college level, but I'm honestly not all that sure I'm an "academic". Here's why:
I did all the research and just knew that I could whip that paper right up. I'm a writer, right? I do have a degree in English and love to write- THIS WILL BE EASY!

WRONG!
It has been a decade since I've written a "paper" and I honestly forgot how difficult it is to put all the pieces together- especially the formatting, spacing, capitalization, etc. I had to re-learn all of that! I've written a ton of reports for work, so the fact that I was still "in shape" that was the fallacy I was believing.
I started about 8:30 on Thursday night (I know- this is sad, but I'm being honest here- I had all the research done already) and I stayed up until 3 in the am finishing it. And really, I still had 2 pages left out of the 18 it needed to be, but the majority was done. And it was double spaced, folks, thankfully. I was the one in class who asked when he assigned it!

So, Friday, I thought I'd just lay back a little with work and finish it. And I did- with only a few minor work disasters going on. I worked about 4 more hours on it on Friday morning and then had the footnotes and bibliography left. This is where it got sticky. I worked for THREE hours on the footnotes and then another hour on the bibliography! I hadn't even looked at a CMS formatted ANYTHING in a LONG time. So, it took my brain a while to readjust. And I hadn't documented my notes like I wish I would have. It took FO-e-vah.

If you do the math, that would be 14.5 hours just writing this stinking paper.

Here is the cool part, though. You can turn it in online! Isn't that wild? I guess that they've done it for a while with internet classes, but I guess I just assumed that you e-mailed it if you did that. There is even a website and the professor set up and code and password, etc. Crazy!

So, MISSION COMPLETION! I just hope I get a good grade... (and he doesn't check all the references, but that's a different story)

I started thinking about why this would be so hard when it was SO easy a few years ago. I could write papers left and right. But I was in the groove, had nothing else to do and my brain wasn't scattered with all kinds of other useless information. I think if you are in college full time then you are just used to using that side of your brain. Mine still needs a little dusting off, but I worked it up to a shine the other night! Whew! Glad that one is OVER!

5 comments:

becky said...

and that's why on comletion of my BSN i said i'd NEVAH go back...and i won't!!

Sherill said...

It gets easier once you get in the groove! You can do it!

(Remind me of this when I start back writing papers!)

Amy Nunnally said...

Did you know the main reason teachers use Turnitin.com is because the program automatically checks it against anything on the web for plagiarism??? You probably did, but I just thought I'd share!

annieck said...

Oh my goodness, Hillary. I can only imagine. At least you're finished now. I'm sure you did a GREAT job!

Amy said...

It always feels good to be finished with anything like that. I know that you did a wonderful job. BTW...about the tagged thing, I usually avoid them as well. Not sure why I did that one. I didn't want anyone else to feel obligated that's why I didn't specifically tag anyone. And oh yeah I'm quirky. Notice that those were 10 things that I didn't mind if people knew about. Imagine the things that I'm keeping to myself....

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Hillary

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