… and just like that, after a grueling semester of blood, sweat, and tears (and a bit too much procrastination), I have finally turned my history senior seminar paper in!
I was up late last night finishing the last few pages (by late, I mean 4
am…because who needs sleep…) so when I came back to the paper earlier today to edit it, I was apprehensive about what I would find.
Alright Britta, brace yourself for a 3 am mess of a draft. Brace yourself to be editing all afternoon right up until 4 pm…well, more like 3:45 so you have time to print it out and get to class on time…
As I began reading it over I discovered that, much to my surprise, a 3 am mess of a draft wasn’t what I found at all. While there were some glaring grammatical errors that needed to be fixed along with the addition of a few missing footnotes, I was actually really pleased. In fact–dare I say–this my be the the best academic paper I’ve written in college. Somehow I managed to write some really great stuff in the wee hours of this morning. Not sure how, but it happened.
I know I am partly in debt to my Understanding Writing class that I’m also taking this semester–it has pushed me completely in the way I think about writing. The way I approach academic writing has completely changed in the course of the last sixteen weeks or so. I also know that part of the reason I feel so good about this paper is because I really cared about it. It was hard to finish it, don’t get me wrong. My motivation was severely lacking. But when it all comes down to it, I loved my topic; it still excites me today, despite how drained I am.
I didn’t write this paper for my professor, I wrote it for me. It’s not that I did anything drastic or crazy unacceptable for an academic paper–it still is very much an academic paper–but I wrote it the way I wanted to write it; the way I thought I could make my argument most effective. I think that shows.
Of course, I want to get a good grade in this class. I hope my professor likes my paper as much as I do. Regardless of what he thinks though and how he accordingly grades it, I’m still proud of it; I honestly think that matters most. After all, it’s not often that I turn in a paper that I actually feel really good about.
I’m not done with my semester of course; I still have a few more papers to attend to and two finals to take. It feels so good to be good with this paper, though. It was a big paper not just in the amount of time it took to physically get it done, but also in the emotional connotations that are associated with it. The successful completion of this paper will give me my history degree. It means I’m one step closer to graduating. It means I’m almost done. That’s a pretty big deal in itself.
That being said, I’m so glad I can mark completing this paper off my checklist.