Monday, November 15, 2010

Behind + Ahead = Behead?

Maybe being beheaded wouldn't be so bad at this point. I mean, that would totally kill my headache, right? Among other things...

Well, okay, maybe being dead wouldn't be so awesome. In fact, no, it definitely wouldn't be so awesome. But it is pretty tiring to work so hard to get ahead on some of the stuff on my To-Do list, but still be behind on so many other things. It's like the extreme satisfaction of getting ahead is totally mauled by the knowledge that I'm still not done.

I think I spent more time this weekend doing homework than I did like...all last week. Catching up on homework for one class inadvertently put me behind schedule on some other things. Some literally and some only according to my self-imposed deadlines.

I have this paper. This 10-page research paper for my Marriage Institution class. It's basically one fifth of my total grade for the class, so there's definitely some pressure to do a stellar job on it. It's due the class period before Thanksgiving break, but my professor had encouraged us all to talk to her about our topics. When I did just that—which was extremely helpful—she also said that she would take my paper early, grade it, and give me comments, which would then allow me to make any changes necessary to make the best grade possible.

Quite frankly, I'd be a fool not to take advantage of this. So I talked to her Friday, and told her I hoped to have something to give her on Monday.

That left me spending this weekend writing like a crazy person. And researching. And re-learning how to cite internet sources, movies, books, etc. And how to properly quote them.

Block quotes are my favorite.
They look awesome. They break up the monotony of a Times New Roman 12 point double spaced black and white research paper. But they can be hard to come by because they can only be used for quotes that take up more than four lines of the page. So my overall paper only has a few. Not including the snippets of movie dialogue I included in order to discuss the family structure evidenced in the exchange between characters.
I suppose technically not having to put those quotes in block form would take up more space on the page, but I'm tellin' ya, 10 page papers look pretty monotonous without them.

And yes, 1 and 3 are different pages.
Note the near identical nature of the paragraphs and their spacing.
Not monotonous.
Note the block quotes and even some dialogue!
Fortunately, I wasn't the only person from my Marriage Institution class who wanted to get a head start on the paper. So myself and two other girls from class decided we'd have a Paper-Writing Party.

We met at Starbucks on Saturday. Because really, nothing makes homework more tolerable than coffee.

We got there at two, and I honestly didn't expect to get as little actual writing accomplished as I did. I left at five (three hours later!) with barely more than a paragraph written. Turns out it took much longer than I had anticipated to find my last of three pop culture examples of marriage (it's more specific, but I'll refrain from bogging you down with details) and pull quotes from my sources. When I did finally start writing my introduction and following paragraph, I kept having to stop to make a citation of my source so that I could do my in-text citations. So that held me up. That's when I decided I'd compile my sources and cite them all first, that way I could just refer back. That mostly worked.

When I left, I had just about half a page and a headache.

Since we didn't finish our papers, we decided to hold a continuation of our Paper-Writing Party at the same Starbucks the following day. Again at about 2.

Thank you for existing, Starbucks. <3
This time I got about five pages written. Again I left with a headache.

I managed to be a semi-responsible adult when I got back to my apartment. I avoided all distractions.

The problem I was having was that by the time I finished up page 7, all that I really had left to write was the last half of the paragraph I was working on and my conclusion. Not so easy to stretch out into three pages... I had to elaborate on some of my earlier paragraphs and lengthen my analysis of the last example, plus split my conclusion into two separate paragraphs.

Yikes. It was such a headache.

The good news is, I finished up my paper—not-so-creatively titled "Family Types and their Reactions to Marriage"—at a hefty ten and a half pages. And this morning I turned it in. So now I must anxiously await my professor's comments and criticisms so that I can edit it accordingly. Ideally, it'll be fine. And I won't have to change much of anything. Which would mean I finished my paper just over a week early. That might be a personal best!

So that's what I'm ahead on.

However, I am certainly not ahead on everything. Sadly, NaNoWriMo is not going so well for me. I should have about 25,000 words. I don't. I have just over 13,000 words. Yeah, that's pretty behind.

Maybe it would be wise to just give up and focus on my schoolwork.

But I am rarely wise.

I still have half a month to catch up. During Thanksgiving break, I'll have even more time since I won't have to deal with classes.  Last November, I stayed behind all the way up until the last week. I think. Either way, I know towards the end there was an outpouring of wordswordswords and I crossed the finish line with just over 50,000 at more or less the very last minute.

It could happen again. Right? If anybody else out there is doing NaNo and is behind, hark! Don't lose hope! It's not over 'til it's over.

I just have one more big thing—wait, maybe two. No, three. Sorry, four. Three more big things to get out of the way before I can buckle down and get to work on my writing. Yes, that's three more things I'm behind on. Two that I'm actually behind on; one that isn't due yet but that I'd intended to finish already. And another that doesn't exactly have a due date but that needs to be done nonetheless.

The two I'm behind on are for my Shakespeare class and my Sociology of Gender class. The one I'm "behind" on is my Campaigns & Elections paper. All three I am determined to take care of this week. The one I just plain need to do is...well, a multi-step process involving meeting with my advisor, nailing down what I need to take next semester, figure out what classes I want and working them out on my schedule, re-advising to make sure they'll all count, and then actually registering for them as soon as I'm allowed to. (Which, if you're wondering, is November 23 at 5:30 am. Yeah, I think that's cruel, too.)

So my current mantra is pretty much, "Go! Go! Go!"

Hopefully I can continue to avoid all distractions...

Major distraction.


Matt Bukaty said...

that was exhausting to read. :/


Sarah said...

Haha! You have felt just a fraction of my pain!


museumgirl22 said...

I'm also exhausted from homework! I have a disaster plan to create and a museum program to create. I think I have close to 40 pages for my disaster plan so far. My assignments have to be 'real' museum documents.

Sarah said...

Wow! 40 pages! I will officially not complain about my ten page research paper! 40 pages is mighty impressive!

What does a disaster plan entail? Exactly what it sounds like it would? :-)

Bagel Fairy said...

I only have 12,000 or so words, two jobs, and am still holding out hope for NaNo. You can do it.

Sarah said...

@Bagel Fairy—It's down to the wire and I still haven't given up. I've got...a day and a half left? I'm planning on locking myself in my apartment tonight and tomorrow and writing up a storm! It'll be cathartic. Probably.