Tips to Avoid the High Stress of a College Paper

A well-written college paper is a sometimes dreaded but necessary component of academic achievement in college. Unfortunately, many students do not know where to begin. A successful opinion paper can be challenging to write because good essays are not only more specific, but you must also pay attention to other details provided by the professor via syllabus or instruction. 

College papers are a necessary evil, but there are some things you can do to make the process less stressful. By following these tips, you’ll be able to get through your paper with a minimum of stress.

Start early

Some of us have learned to write one draft in one night, but you owe it to yourself to allow your thoughts to develop over time and via multiple iterations. It takes time to conduct research and to figure out what you want to convey.

If you start early, you give yourself time to mull over your topic, do additional research as needed, and make sure that your final product is the best that it can be. You also avoid the stress of having to do everything at the last minute. So, start early and give yourself the time you need to produce a great essay. 

Identify your purpose

Think about why you’re writing the paper. Why are you pursuing this topic? What is the angle?

Trying to answer these questions will help you focus on the purpose of your paper. 

Remember, however, that you shouldn’t overthink it. Just write about what you think and feel. Once you have the idea, begin your draft with the following sentence:

“I’ve come to realize that…”

This will help you focus on what you’re writing about and show the purpose of your essay.

Some tips for becoming a better writer include:

Answer a question

An excellent paper does not simply report on a topic or recap what you have read. Instead of themes, consider questions you want to be answered. You will avoid the “all about” paper, the data dump, and the work that talks more about your research process than any conclusions you draw.

Place importance on making your audience feel like you know what you are talking about. As much as possible, use words and phrases that readers will understand. The following is a list of questions to ask yourself and explore on behalf of your audience.

How do you currently feel about this topic?

What is your goal with this topic?

What do you want people to do with this topic?

This will help you develop a sound research foundation for your paper.

Moot the topic

If you’re doing a research project, don’t make it too obvious. Instead, stick to the general topic and make your final paper as broad as possible. For example, if you’re doing a paper on parenting skills, instead of specifically calling it a parenting paper, call it a communication skills paper. This will be more difficult to narrow down what you should include in your paper, and you’ll have to do more research in order to shape the direction of your paper.

Organize your ideas using an outline

Organizing your ideas ahead of time will help you more easily complete the paper. Instead of feeling forced to write about a topic you disagree with, you’ll be able to pick a topic you’re passionate about. Using an outline will help keep your writing organized and focused.

Write a thesis statement

The thesis statement states what you intend to prove in your essay. A good thesis statement should be clear, concise, specific, and take a position. 

Use specificity in your writing

The specific details help readers understand what you are writing about and why, which will help them digest the information you are presenting. 

  • What exactly are you discussing?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Can you share one example of how this topic has affected you or a friend? 

One of the most important aspects of writing a college paper is being able to recognize and express your own emotions. If you’re writing about a personal experience, be sure to include details that matter to you, and don’t write about something you don’t truly feel.

Always aim to provide accurate information

When writing a paper about someone, it is important to determine whether you can use the name of the person you are writing about. It may seem simple, but the more details you can provide, the better your paper will be.

Make Your Writing Clear

Writing a paper is not like writing an email or a tweet. You want your writing to be clear and accessible to any reader. Whether you are using jargon and technical terms, writing in list form, or speaking directly to your reader, keep your writing clear.

Avoid Double Meanings

In giving examples, remember that every example does not have to mean the same thing. The more double meanings you give away, the more readers will be uncertain about what you are saying. 

Use helpful tools and apps

No matter what medium or document you’re writing, all good writers should always use spell check at a minimum. Advances in writing technology have also made writing much easier. For example, writing apps like Grammarly and Ginger can help you catch grammar, spelling, and other language mistakes.

Revise

Finally, learning to revise based on how actual readers, including the writer, respond to the work is an important part of college writing. Surprisingly, a vast majority of college students never read, let alone alter, what they have written. And when students “revise,” it’s usually to rectify something that a teacher has circled. It may take some time, but with support, students can finally realize how to use reader comments and reactions to refine and develop their arguments.

How can you avoid procrastination?

Procrastination can be a real problem in life. It’s often related to a lack of self-control. Once you have committed to doing something, rather than putting it off until the last minute, you can curb your procrastination tendencies. Planning and setting goals are important but taking small steps each day to work towards those goals is what will make the biggest difference. Changing your mindset from thinking that you’ll do something “someday” to believing that you’ll do it today is a key part of overcoming procrastination.

How to overcome writer’s block?

There are a few different things you can do to overcome writer’s block. The first thing you should do is take a break. Get up and walk around or do something completely unrelated to writing. This will help clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective. Another thing you can do is to try writing in a different format or genre. Sometimes all it takes is to switch things up a bit to get the creative juices flowing again. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to someone who is knowledgeable about the topic you’re writing about. They may have some great ideas that you can use.

It’s critical to confront your worries and take little effort, such as writing only a sentence or two for five minutes. Usually, the anxiety subsides, and you go further than expected.

How to stay focused and energized during the writing process?

It’s annoying when the words don’t come out the way you expect them to. Be kinder to yourself and the process. The words will arrive, or they are already on the page but need to be refined. We don’t truly understand what we want to communicate until we put our thoughts into words. Trust the process.

The best way to avoid the high stress of college papers is to be prepared. Start by doing your research and planning ahead. Then, when it comes time to write the paper, be sure to organize and take your time. Finally, don’t forget to proofread your work before you submit it. By following these tips, you can avoid the high stress that college papers can bring.

Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate stress, there are a few things you can do to make the writing process less daunting. By breaking down your paper into smaller tasks, setting realistic goals, and taking breaks, you can minimize your stress and maximize your productivity. And, of course, if you’re struggling to write your paper, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. A little assistance can go a long way in making your college paper less of a burden.