Ask Raz: Essays

Question: Why can’t I turn in essays on time? I know kinda what I want to say but I can’t spit it out, so I just don’t. How do I do better? I can’t get above a C even when I do turn it in.

Answer: This is actually more common than you’d think. I’m going to have a very straightforward conversation with you in order to help not only you, but a plethora of other students who are paralyzing themselves over looking stupid.

Fact 1: No one likes to look stupid.

Fact 2: Not turning in things makes you look worse than turning in things that aren’t “perfect.” A “perfect” 3-week-late paper will earn you a perfect zero. No good.

Fact 3: Most professors will allow you to turn in rough drafts of your paper before they are due. This is invaluable. I’m not going to say all of them will, but for the most part, if you’re in communication with your teachers, they will work with you and give you feedback.

Fact 4: Your teachers do not get paid to ensure that you fail. In fact, the majority of them are very invested in your ability to succeed.

Look, no teacher enjoys watching a student drown. I’ve been at Washburn long enough to work with professors in six different disciplines regularly, and all of them have been out for the success of everyone in their classes. Here is the thing though: not all students are willing to put forth the effort in order to really get out of the class what they are paying for. The majority of the student body currently is obsessed with doing as little as possible, while looking as good as possible. These two things do not coincide.

Fact 5: In most cases, turning in rough drafts can be the difference of a full letter grade.

I know it’s hard to get what is jumbled in your head down onto paper cohesively. This is, as I said earlier, a really popular issue. That’s the beauty of tutors. My best advice is to “puke it all out” onto paper, and get it to your department tutor or your professor quickly. If you get into a practice of this, the rest of your college career will get a whole lot easier.

Overcoming fear is an obstacle you’ll face the rest of your life. Everyone experiences fear. However, the true definition of courage is to act in the face of fear. If you can get through the fear of looking bad long enough to actually produce your papers, you’ll see that it gets less nerve- wracking and more productive as you go on.