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Python_gal
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I'm posting this here because there was really no other place for it, but if it's not allowed, I understand.

OK. So, I am a college student, and while my grades aren’t bad for someone in my position, they could be better. The problem I have, though, is this: At first, early on in the semester, I do pretty well on the assignments and papers, and I do them all, and I do my best in everything, but after a while, I start to lose interest in the class. I don’t do my assignments as often, my papers are done half-***, and I procrastinate a lot more. I don’t really know why this is. It never really happened in high school, where I did my work with the same level of effort, regardless of how late it was in the semester, and regardless of how much I hated the class. It would be inaccurate to say that my problem is solely slacking off; rather, I think slacking off is an effect of my problem. The true cause, I think, is losing interest in the class, and thus, losing motivation, which can lead to slacking off.

To top it off, the classes I had last year (I just completed my first year of college and am about to enter my second) were fairly writing-heavy, and it was pretty much agreed all across the board that I could use some help in writing papers; not in the structure part of it, but rather in the grammar and non-BSing part. Since I was so good at writing and grammar in high school, it came as a shock to me initially, but now, I simply don’t know what to do. I know that there are books that can help me out, but I don’t know where to start. I would like to start this now since I know I will have to write a few papers this coming semester.

So, what should I do? How do I stay motivated and on the ball in my classes? How do I not procrastinate as much? Also, what books can you recommend that would help me write better, more concise papers? Would the Elements of Style help, or something else, or should I just rely on practice? I know it’s summer, and no one really wants to think about school, but it would be really helpful if I could get some help with this. Thanks in advance!

Posts: 4 | From: in a land far, far away | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ErinK
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The best advice I can give you about both of your problems (although I will recommend some books) is to see if your school has a Learning Center (or sometimes it's called academic support services) and a Writing Center (or Writing Lab) and to visit them often. I can assure you that you will not be their only visitor! [Smile]

Learning Centers often offer short "courses" or consultations about how to keep motivated, avoid procrastination, and manage your time, and they usually have a lot of handouts and books with helpful tips. They're really great!

Writing Centers are designed for one-on-one meetings between a writer and a tutor. You bring in your assignment at any stage of the writing process (the earlier the better, in fact), and a qualified person works with you on the problems that you identify. So you could go in with an assignment and say "I'm having trouble being concise -- can you help me figure out some strategies to do so?" or "My professor says that I'm having some grammar problems. Can you help me identify my most common errors?" There's usually lots of books, resources, and other references that you can borrow to help you with specific writing isues. The one I worked in usually had snacks, too.

If your school doesn't have a writing center (or even if they do), you can certainly ask your professors for help by visiting their office hours or by sending them email with specific questions. We do get paid for that, you know. [Smile]

Elements of Style is great for refining sentences, but one of my favorite overviews of grammar and more precise writing is Woe is I by Patricia O'Conner. It's very engaging. When I get to work, I'll look and see if I have any good books which cover conciseness, but for now, you might want to start with this web page: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_concise.html -- there are a lot of great resources for improving your writing online. Here's another list of resources that I like: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/internet/resources/sourceofinfo.html

Good luck!

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cool87
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quote:
At first, early on in the semester, I do pretty well on the assignments and papers, and I do them all, and I do my best in everything, but after a while, I start to lose interest in the class.
That's something that happens quite often with students. At first, we're so happy to begin our classes after a few weeks or months, we get tired. It's kinda normal to lose a little bit of interest but not all.

I'm pretty sure there are classes you like, aren't they ? You can't possibly lose interest in all classes ? There will always be classes we like less but we have to deal with it.

You know what works for me ? I do the longest homework first and the ones I like less. And I keep the easiest ones, the ones I likes best for the end. Or I switch and do a little bit of the homeworks I don't like then switch to the other ones so I don't get tired of doing the same honework I don't like during an extended period of time.

Also, I take breaks during the time I do my homeworks.That helps a lot. You might want to try that.

Also, always try to keep your homeworks up to date. Begin them as soon as you get them. Don't accumulate them and do them at the last minute. You'll feel overwhelmed and will loose interest even more.

I know sometimes, it can be the contrary. For me, I perform better when there's stress. For example, I often don't feel like studying when the exam is like in two weeks. I'll feel more like it when it will be like in two days. Not in all classes but let's say in some classes. It really depends on the person. But the thing is starting to do your studying and homeworks ahead of time is always better.

As for better writing, I can't really suggest you books for writing better in English since almost 97 % of the time I'm writing in French in school. The only times when I do not is when I am in my English classes and we use most of the time dictionnaries only. So sorry if I can't be of that much help to you on that one.

[ 07-31-2006, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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Posts: 3598 | From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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