The Brocktopus: 8 things you learn about yourself and your school while writing final essays

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Ah, the end of term, when most students have procrastinated as much as they feel comfortable doing and finally start working on their final essays and other assignments. Ranging anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 words, the relative suffering from one student to the next is real. With that being said, you might actually learn something (beyond what those papers you’re citing say about your topic of study).

1. Distractions

Whether it be researching specialty egg nog recipes on Pinterest, binge watching Netflix’s extensive collection of documentaries or just plain old cat videos on YouTube, once you start writing an essay of considerable length you’ll soon know what can best distract you. What’s that? You’ve never been on /r/animalsbeingjerks, the sub-Reddit about animals being jerks? There goes another hour of productivity.

2. Typo9s and spellign

Given that you’ll log at least a few hours of straight typing, it will become very clear that there are a few words you’ll need to use for standard essay rhetoric that your brain never really learned to type properly. Sure, you know how to spell “restaurant” or “definitely”, but that doesn’t mean they won’t appear as “restauruant” and “definiltey”.

3. Audio aid

It’s different for everyone. Some people can’t listen to music with lyrics without typing them into the middle of a thesis statement, while others can’t listen to music without getting an urge to dance instead of type. Regardless of what it may be, figure out what will help you get more work done. Mongolian throat-singing? Hey, whatever floats your boat.

4. Somewhere only you know?

Remember that spot you found on that floor of the library where you miraculously finished your essay in a reasonable amount of time? Don’t be surprised that it’s not that much of a secret. While Brock University isn’t the biggest school, its student population seems to grow every year, which can have an adverse affect on the availability of comfortable, yet study-condusive, spots on campus. If you get there first, don’t be afraid to mark your territory (with books and lattés, not urine, you filthy animal).

5. In conclusion…

One skill you’re sure to gain is a varied knowledge of how to connect disparate paragraphs. Additionally, furthermore, therefore, thus, what is more, also, etc. etc. These will (arguably) become interchangeable and reliable parts of your lexicon, but don’t be afraid to use a thesaurus!

6. How dirty your computer is

No, not in the figurative sense. Literally, as you spend hours staring at your laptop, you’ll realize the year’s worth of grime and dust that has settled between the keys and along the screen. Your mind will leap at any chance to procrastinate on the essay, so either commit to a clean computer so you can get back to work, or accept the dirt that’s been there all along.

7. Word counts

Your word processor’s ability to instantly update your word count is really a blessing and a curse. Like the wall clock in elementary school, it’s encouraging only when you forget to look at it. Fixate on it and it’ll become all too clear that every sentence you write ends up being less words than you would have originally guessed. Don’t torture yourself, just ignore the word count.

8. How to say the same thing three different ways

Given the necessity of introduction and concluding paragraphs, topic sentences at the beginnings of arguments and the occasional need to stretch a word count, get used to rephrasing yourself. It can be frustrating, trite, tedious, annoying, vexing, monotonous, repetitive, dreary, mundane, irksome, mind-numbing, lackluster…

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