An Unpopular Opinion About Writing Essays

I've finally settled into enjoying the art of the essay.

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I have a love-hate relationship with essays. The impossibly broad topics, high word counts and countless paragraphs are enough to scare anyone off. Not to mention, online essay writing services seem to be flooding Google nowadays, and might be a tempting offer for sleep-deprived and desperate students.

But bear with me, as I’ve got a bit of a proposition for you: essay writing isn’t all that bad! In fact, after three years of uni, I feel like I’ve finally settled into enjoying the art of the essay.

Creative Organisation

Type As rejoice! While essay formatting or editing may seem like a boring task, embracing it will help you feel a hell of a lot more organised and proud of what you present. It is also one of the only aspects of essay writing that allows you to express some form of creativity (if it fits your guidelines).

There’s a simple joy in picking a nice font or deciding whether to bold or italicise your title, as it can really reflect your individuality as an author, not just a student number. It’s also important to note that essay writing and creative writing aren’t polar opposites!

Throwing in an attention-grabbing opening, utilising the creative “three act structure” and using extended metaphors can all greatly benefit an essay, and might be just what you need to push your mark just over that Distinction band.

Paragraph Prepping

The research component of an essay can often be the most tedious. There’s countless articles, websites or chapters to read through to dig out that perfect quote to suit your argument.

So next time you’re faced with a Word Doc full of notes, why not try colour coding them to fit each paragraph? This will not only provide you with a visual aid of how much information you have on each point but will display a comprehensive guide as to how your essay will look before it even hits the page.

Plus, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73% of employers are looking for a candidate with strong written communication and formatting skills. Paragraphs are beautiful things, folks.

The Conclusion

I for one, find the conclusion of an essay the most exciting thing to write. This is because after summarising arguments is out of the way, I can hit my professors with modern examples of whatever points I’ve argued.

As an English major, it’s always fun to end an essay about a book with a reference to the new Incredibles movie, or an essay about a poem with a nod to Taylor Swift’s new album. These examples may seem outlandish but including contemporary links and examples (if they are relevant) can really demonstrate your understanding of a text or topic’s intended meaning and relevance. Plus, you’ll stand out in a pile of essays on the exact same topic (win-win!).

Play Judge Judy

One of the most satisfying things about essay writing, in my opinion, is the expectation that you will critique every piece of information you collect or present — even your own!

Critical thinking is a buzz word often found on essay rubrics and demonstrating this doesn’t have to be a chore. Find the fun in investigating or cross-referencing sources for accuracy! Not only will this display your ability to analyse the work you present, but it will provide you with some really detailed information and knowledge about your chosen topic.

Nancy Drew, is that you?!

(Lead image: Friends/NBC)