Sorry for the super long title and what I’m sure will be a super long post. Basically, I was thinking about what I learned in college and I just kept thinking about the song “I Love College” by Asher Roth — a lot of partying and social things, but not a lot of actual, tangible facts that I can pull from my head. I think my philosophy minor taught me that I don’t actually know anything, meaning college was essentially the experience of learning that I know nothing (read my last essay listed on this page). Sorry, that’s an aside.
The real point of this post is something that I learned how to do really well in college: churn out an essay. Notice that I’m not saying write an essay. This is more out of grinding process where words just manifest in nonsensical and only vaguely related ways for ten pages. The following, in a simple 7 step form, is what professors don’t want you to know, what they don’t want you to write, and what will make you graduate with a 3.5 GPA without spending almost any time writing stupid papers for classes you have little to no interest in. Yes, these papers will suck. Yes, if you do this you lack scholastic integrity. Yes, you can get back to partying with your friends.
- Read your essay guidelines that usually suggest topics for you to write. I’m going to choose an actual topic from my senior year, but this method works for any subject or discipline as you will soon see. “Analyze a thematic style from a classic film director studied in this course.” Boom. Okay, find something easy that people will have obviously wrote about in the past. So, I chose “suspense in Alfred Hitchcock movies”. I know, this is an easy example — sometimes essays are harder in those upper level philosophy courses and with those you have to get much more creative in part two…
- Immediately get online with your school’s library and choose a database listing. I think my favorite is Academic Search Complete because it’s got something like 50 databases in one. Make sure to check all of the databases so you search everything. So first, enter in “Suspense” and then “Alfred Hitchcock”. You might also find out what movies he has directed and then use “Suspense” and “Movie Name” to find those too, if you’re looking for particular films. Make sure to check “Full text available” on your search”
- Click search, and then open about 20 sources and read their little descriptions. If they sound relevant, download the PDF files to a folder so you can get to them easily again. (I also like to check that the PDF articles are searchable when I preview them: who the hell wants to actually read these things to find content? You can search for suspense or whatever and find quotes faster.) You’ll also, at this point, want to make sure you have a RefWorks account (just Google it, but it’s usually provided through your school). This site takes those articles you’re searching and compiles your Works Cited page. Because who the hell wants to try to figure out MLA, APA, ASA or whatever formats? I didn’t, so I just let this site do it for me. You’ll see an “export to Refworks” icon on almost all databases, or something similar. You’re in college, figure it out.
- So now, gather the top 10 or however many sources you need, open then, read them if you have to, or just search the PDFs (control + f) for things you need. I take five or six quotes from each article about my topic and past them in a Word document. Make sure to write down page numbers so you can cite them in your paper without having to look at the articles again.
- Now you want to make a framework for your paper based on your quotes. Look at what they have in common or don’t have in common. Use this to establish three broad topics, and for each topic, three subtopics. This will give you enough BS to write about to go for several pages. So, for example, three topics in this case can be individual movies, and the subtopics can be how suspense is used in each of the movies (three examples or three different approaches). Something like that. You’ll figure it out as you start pasting it what fits or doesn’t fit.
- Write your paper. So from here, write a brief introduction that is probably where the paper will go, then start filling in ways to bridge the quotes. My formula is usually quote, two sentences about the quote, another quote, two sentences, and so on.
- Add more filler until you reach your page/word quota. Print it out and turn it in (because professors live in 1910 apparently) or e-mail it to the super future professors who use this advanced technology. If you’re struggling on the filler, you can always blatantly cheap. Google the period trick, which is the best way to gain a page or so when you write a paper.
So, you might be wondering how is this possible? Am I making this up? No, I’m not, and it’s really possible because I certainly did it just like I explained it. I was able to churn out the worst, yet acceptable, papers in just a few hours. So, provided below is every paper I wrote in college at Trinity University. I don’t care what you do with these essays. Use them as a reference, laugh at them, print them out and turn them in as your own (I feel like that might be kind of stupid, but hey, I don’t think many professors actually check).
As an aside, some of these classes I really enjoyed a lot, and, in general, those papers have more interesting content because I had some enjoyment from the class. I’ve denoted those classes with an asterisk after the course title.
ANTH 1301 – Introduction to Anthropology
Essay – Final Paper (Avocado Production Chain)
ANTH 4362 – Globalization and International Development
Essay – Final (Development and Sustainable Agriculture in Central America – A Case Study of Belize)
ARTH 1307 – Art History Prehistoric to Medieval
Final – Roman Verism Portraiture (Note: This is a really awful paper; in the professors feedback she wrote “thesis unclear” and then crossed it out and wrote “thesis missing“. Still got an A, but just a warning.)
CLAS 1302 – Introduction to Classical Literature
Essay – Ethics in Classical Literature
Essay – The Role of Sex and Power in Jason and the Golden Fleece
COMM 2302 – Media Interpretation and Criticism
Essay – Ad Analysis
Essay – Media Self-Reflection
Project – Video Project
Essay – Final (On Family Guy – The Narrative and the Postmodern)
COMM 3326 – History of Mass Media*
Literary Review – Character Development in Sitcoms
Essay – Media Study – Race and Gender
COMM 4395 – Communication Major Capstone
Thesis – Developing a Targeted Website (Here’s my entire thesis. Someone please print this out and turn it in as their own in an 100 level communication course and let me know what grade you get!)
FILM 1301 – Introduction to Film
Essay – Hitchcock, North by Northwest, and Suspense
HIST 1371 – African American Literature (For one of these book reviews, I remember asking my roommate to pick random passages for me to quote and put into the essay as a dare. So these are bound to be winners.)
Essay – Aristocrats of Color Book Review
Essay – Blacker the Berry Book Review
Essay – Brownsville Raid Book Review
Essay – Soul on Ice Book Review
MCC 1354 – Video Game Art & Design
Essay (Video Game Design)
PHIL 1301 – Introduction to Philosophy*
PHIL 1354 – Ethics*
Essay (Kant and Mill)
PHIL 3339 – Epistemology*
Essay – Reflections on Knowledge