The Best Worst Excuses for Justifying Procrastination
by Muranda Mendez
We’ve all been guilty of procrastinating at some point. And while procrastinating doesn’t seem like such a brilliant idea when it’s 2 AM and we’ve yet to run our paper through a grammar checker, we have to laugh at some of the excuses we come up with to justify our own poor decision-making. Here are our top five favorite reasons for justifying procrastination.
5. “It’s not due for awhile.”
This one’s a classic. Why start something now when you have plenty of time? Before you know it, though, those weeks shrink down to days and then hours. While this excuse inevitably adds more stress to our lives, we still pull it out every once in awhile.
4. “I’ll do it after…”
The best motivation to clean your room? A big homework assignment.
We’ve all told ourselves we’ll start our work after we do something else. After all, how can we be expected to concentrate with a messy desk? The rub, though, is that you can always come up with something more important to do. Once you’ve finished one task, boom—there’s another one to take its place.
One of the best versions of this one is, “I’ll start after I finish this episode.” We all know that watching just one episode of whatever show we’re currently binge-watching is like promising to easy just one potato chip. Best not to even open the bag.
3. “Something else came up.”
Similar to number four, “something else came up” is a great, all-purpose excuse for putting off our assignments a little longer. While it can sometimes be legitimate, usually the only thing that “comes up” is our own decision to procrastinate. For example, “Something came up and I had to go help my friend” is usually another way of saying “I didn’t feel like starting it yet so I went to hang out with friends.”
2. “No one else has started yet.”
I’ve used this one to justify my own procrastinating many, many times. Everyone in class usually ends up discussing the assignment at some point, which often reveals that the entire class is procrastinating just as much as you are. Someone usually cracks a joke about how they’re planning on starting around 11 PM the night before it’s due.
There’s no real logic to the idea that everyone else procrastinating means it’s a good idea for you to do it, too, but it can come as a relief to know that your classmates are equally as stressed as you.
1. “I work better under stress.”
This is the best, weirdest, most universal and probably most untrue excuse for procrastinating. While we’ve all probably said it at some point, none of us actually works better under stress: we just work faster because we know the deadline is approaching with every passing minute. This excuse is a crowd favorite, though, because it relieves us of some of the guilt of putting things off.
The moral of the story is that most of us will come up with any excuse to justify procrastinating on our assignments. Maybe we should expend that time and creativity on our work instead. It’ll save us some stress (that we definitely don’t work better under) later on, when the deadline is only an hour away.While writing a good paper takes time, making your citations can be a breeze. Use BibMe’s free citation generator to create a works cited page in MLA, an APA reference page and so much more! ...
Impress Your English Teacher with These 3 Sources
You will write a ton of papers throughout your school life, but that doesn’t mean they all have to be the same. The difference between an ok paper and one that “wows” your teacher may not be entirely related to your writing skills. The types of resources that you use to conduct your research can also set your work apart and demonstrate your willingness to think outside of the box.
Here are some out of the ordinary source types that you should consider using in your next research paper:
Writing a paper on a specific period in history? (The Elizabethan era of Shakespeare, perhaps?) Is your topic focused on a particular part of the world? (For example, Greece, if you're studying Greek mythology.) Including a map in your works cited page could help provide context to your topic. Also, who doesn’t love a visual aid?
For example, did you read All the Light We Cannot See and are writing about World War II? Using a map can help communicate which countries were associated with the Allies, the Axis, or neutral. Another map could show the progression of attacks and offensives.
If you’re interested in using a map for your paper, consider checking library databases for copies of historical maps, or find an atlas that shows geographical charts for your desired timeframe. Some libraries also have special map collections, so ask your librarian for help.2. Interviews
Interviews express a person’s thoughts on a given topic in a very focused and concise way. They are often also very personal and can provide a human element to even the most scientific or static topic—which is especially useful in persuasive essays. The best part is, interviews are easy to find, and are often used in newspapers, magazines, or even as part of popular T.V. shows. When including interviews in your project or paper, be sure to account for or acknowledge bias—your teacher will appreciate your insight.
Including letters or even emails as sources in your reference list is a great way to add a personal touch to your paper. For instance, including a snippet of a letter from George Washington describing Benedict Arnold would be a great addition to your Revolutionary War research paper. Copies of historical letters and other correspondence can be found in places like the National Archives at https://www.archives.gov/. Libraries, universities, and museums are also great places to look.
All of these source types and more can be easily cited with the help of BibMe.org. Our citation tools can show you how to cite a website, create an APA reference page, generate an MLA citation, and much more! In addition, BibMe Plus has a grammar check to help you write well-written papers. Try it today! ...
Feature Focus: BibMe’s Intuitive Annotation Tool
Were you asked to create an annotated bibliography? Wondering how to write an annotated bibliography? Or even what it is? Look no further, because BibMe’s free Annotation Tool can help!
Bibliographies are generally found on the final page of an assignment or research paper and contain citations for sources used in a project. Annotated bibliographies take it one step further and include the full citation PLUS commentary about the source.
The commentary about the source is the annotation. Included in this commentary, or annotation, is:
- A summary of the source (one to three sentences)
- Your evaluation of the source and how or why you found it beneficial (one to three sentences)
Here’s an example of an annotated bibliography, in APA format, created with BibMe’s free Annotation Tool:
Civil Rights Movement. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2018, from http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-movement
This website features articles, videos, pictures, and speeches that pertain to the Civil Rights Movement. Included are brief summaries of historical events and notable people, including the March on Washington, Bloody Sunday, and the Little Rock Nine. I appreciate the brief overview of many significant events and the primary sources throughout were beneficial for this assignment.
Lee, H. (2002). To kill a mockingbird. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
Based in Alabama in the early 1960s, Atticus Finch defends a black man during his rape trial. Scout Finch, Atticus Finch's brave 6 year old daughter, narrates the story and walks us through a time of racial and social injustice. The novel shed light on life in Alabama right before the civil rights movement took off and allowed me to understand the time through an innocent child's eyes.
Ready to make your own annotated bibliography with BibMe’s Annotation Tool? To do so, create your citations as you normally would on BibMe. At the final step, you’ll see “Add Annotation” at the bottom of the citation form. You can also get here by clicking on the “Edit” link on an existing citation.
Add your summary and evaluation in the box. BibMe will format your citation, with annotation, in the proper format and in the style you choose (MLA style, APA format, Chicago, or another style). After you create your citation with its annotation, copy and paste it into your bibliography, download it to Word, or save it for later use. It’s simple, easy, and free! Doesn’t get better than that!
If you need more help with your bibliography, works cited list, or reference list, check out our citation guides. We also have a great grammar check feature to help you build a paper you're proud of.
4 Ways to Battle Writer’s Block (and Win)
by Amanda Clark
Writer’s block. We’ve all experienced this demon. You get an assignment, sit down to begin, and BAM! Nothing. Or you write a stellar first page, feel like a writing rock star and then—BAM! Nothing.
When you have deadlines to meet, a foggy brain can be more than a nuisance. Next time, skip the stress and try these techniques for battling writer’s block—and winning. (And don’t forget to run your paper through a grammar checker before handing it in!)
- Take a break
It may sound counterproductive, but one of the best things you can do to battle writer’s block is take a break. Go for a run, watch an episode of This is Us, or even do your math homework. Whatever you do, the important thing is to take a break from slaving over your assignment.
Sometimes our minds just need a writing siesta. When you return in an hour or two, you might be surprised to find that when you sit down to type that paper on the periodic table, your fingers fly with style.
- Read something related to your topic
It’s easy to get writer’s block after you run out of ideas. After getting off to a strong start, your train of thought derails, frustration sets in, and before you know it, an hour has rolled by and you’re still staring at a blinking cursor.
Don’t let this happen to you! When you’re out of fresh ideas, hit the books.
Let’s say you’re writing a paper on the Civil War. Well, bust out your old history textbook and get reading. Or maybe you have to write a poem, and you happen to have your favorite book of poetry by Billy Collins lying on your desk.
Read these nuggets of inspiration, and they could very well get your thoughts flowing again.
They might even beef up your works cited page. Sweet!
- Reach out to others
It’s easy to stay connected through Snapchat updates and Instagram stories. So why not use your friends and family as resources to help you out when you're stuck?
Having some issues writing about music theory? Facebook your Uncle Ronny who majored in music. Can’t think about how to develop the plot of your story for a creative writing class? Text your friend Lila whose last short story received an “A.” Just make sure to cite sources!
You can even get coffee and have a face-to-face conversation about your struggles, and let collaboration magically heal writer’s block.
- Change your surroundings
So you may love to study and write at the local pizza joint because it has great munchies and free Wi-Fi. But if you’re finding it difficult to concentrate with the football game playing on TV and the soda fountain gurgling, it might be best to move to a different environment.
Try to find someplace quiet and uncluttered. Maybe you’re most productive at a small park or the library. Finding your ideal work location could save you hours of time in the long run.
If you're sick of staring blankly at that computer screen, take a deep breath. Then try one of these four techniques for battling writer’s block. You should be finishing that assignment in no time!
Community College vs University: What’s Right for You?
By Ella Chochrek
For many students, choosing their next steps after high school can be difficult. The right choice for one student might be to enter the workforce, while another might prefer to get a bachelor’s degree straightaway.
Before pursuing higher education, it’s important to assess the pros and cons of all available options. Here, we’ve laid out some of the pluses and minuses of both community college and four-year degree programs to help you determine which is best for you. While reading this, keep in mind that neither choice is better or worse—community colleges and four-year colleges both provide students with quality educations.
Pros to Community College
1. Lower CostsThe price of four-year colleges and universities has skyrocketed in recent years, with some institutions costing over $65,000 annually in room and board. At a public two-year college, the average yearly price is around $3,500—not cheap, but a fraction of the price of a four-year college degree. Attending a community college for two years before switching to a four-year institution could result in tens of thousands of dollars saved.
2. Flexible Class SchedulesFor students hoping to attend college only part-time or to pursue an education while also working a full-time job, community college may fit the bill. Community colleges are often designed with the part-time student in mind, making it easy to take limited credit hours each semester or to take classes that meet at nights or on the weekends—two options that are difficult to come by at many four-year colleges.
3. Smaller ClassesWhile many introductory-level classes at large universities—including prestigious schools—are large lecture courses with more than 100 students, community college class sizes are typically smaller. In these smaller courses, which may have around 20 members, students can get to know their professors on an individual basis—something that is beneficial when it comes time to ask for recommendation letters. Similarly, students may feel more comfortable seeking help for difficult material in a more intimate classroom setting.
Pros to Four-year College/University
1. Campus LifeWhen you picture the college experience portrayed in movies and on TV, you probably picture the four-year college experience, complete with dorm rooms, extracurricular activities, and a lively social scene. Although community colleges do have some clubs and organizations, extracurricular opportunities will be much more plentiful at four-year colleges and universities. Similarly, if you’re looking for a rah-rah environment with team sports and school pride, a four-year college is the place for you.
2. Broader CurriculumFour-year colleges and universities offer all types of interesting courses that go far beyond general education requirements, including courses in areas like philosophy and anthropology that might not seem overwhelmingly relevant to your post-graduate plans. While community colleges also offer some interesting courses, most classes will probably be focused around specific jobs (like auto repair or medical technology). A four-year college is the way to go if you want to learn for the sake of learning, rather than to fulfill requirements or advance a certain career path .
3. Big Potential PayoffsA four-year degree is required before pursuing a master’s degree or a doctoral degree, so if you hope to become a doctor or a lawyer, attending a four-year institution from the get-go is probably the right choice for you. In general, most high-earning fields require at least a bachelor’s degree, meaning that despite the initial high costs of college education, the investment ultimately results in a high payoff.
Every person and their path is different. The important thing is to think through what your priorities and what you hope to gain from your higher education experience before making your decision.
The 5 Writing Secrets I Wish I’d Known in High School
by Muranda Mendez
As a college student, I’ve learned new tips and techniques that have made me a stronger, more efficient writer—and even made the writing experience more enjoyable. Sometimes I've found myself thinking, “I wish I’d known this earlier!”
So, here are five writing secrets that I’ve discovered in college that I wish I’d known as a high school student.
1. Find something you like about the topic
It can be hard to write if you don’t think the topic is interesting, or if you’re only writing with your teacher (and their gradebook) in mind. Of course, sometimes a paper topic is just uninspiring. But if you strive to find something you find personally interesting, the writing process will be a lot more enjoyable, whether it’s a literary paper or a research paper. If you find something you like, the writing process will be easier, and the end product will be more fun and interesting to read.
In high school, I dreaded Shakespeare. I found his writing dense, even more so when I knew I’d have to write about it. In college I also encountered Shakespeare, but I learned to pick something about his plays I actually enjoyed exploring. Rather than focusing on the entire play, I picked pieces such as nature symbolism or gender relations. It made writing about Shakespeare a lot easier.
2. Write five sentences
Figuring out where to start can be more difficult than actually writing the essay. If you’re having trouble, try writing out five sentences that could compose your essay. Here’s an example:
- Thesis: This is the sentence that states your argument and how you’re going to prove it.
- Example: A lot of students view essay-writing as a tedious task, but it can actually be fun and a great way to express themselves.
- Body #1: This is the sentence that begins the process of proving your argument.
- Example: Students focus mainly on achieving a good grade or pleasing the teacher, rather than the writing itself, making it seem more tedious and boring.
- Body #2: This sentence proves your argument in a new way.
- Example: If students focused more on what interested them, their writing would improve and the process would be more enjoyable.
- Body #3: This sentence is either a counterargument or another way to show how and why your argument is right.
- Example: They would express their opinions with more passion, making the final product more well-rounded and interesting to read.
- Conclusion: This sentence summarizes your argument.
Example: While many students view essays as a boring task, with the right mindset and set of tools it can actually be an enjoyable and enriching experience.
Often, the hard part of writing is actually organizing your thoughts. Once you have the outline sentences written, the paragraphs will be easier to fill in!
3. Use sources
Before college, I viewed the requirement to cite sources in my papers as an obstacle to overcome. In college, though, I’ve discovered that sources can actually be a valuable writing resource.
If you’re struggling with what to say, try finding sources on the topic. Often when I’m writing, I find a source that helps me think about the topic in a way I haven’t previously. This not only gives me more ideas about what to write, but it also helps me argue against potential counterarguments to my thesis.
While you don’t want to make your essay too “source heavy,” using sources to support your argument shows that you have research skills and makes your writing more sophisticated. Just make sure to accurately cite, whether you’re using Chicago style format or MLA style!
4. Focus on the “how”
When writing an essay, it’s easy to get stuck on the “what” or the “why.” If you focus on the “how” instead, you’ll have more to write about and your analysis will go deeper.
For example, instead of writing about “what” theme the author is trying to convey, write about “how” the author conveyed that theme. If you focus only on the “what,” you’re just reaching the surface of the argument. Writing about “how” allows you to write about symbolism, metaphors, foreshadowing and more for a literary analysis essay, or historical context, social implications and more for a research paper. You might find yourself exceeding your teacher’s word count!
5. Jump, jump, jump around
It might seem like it would be easiest to write your essay from beginning to end. However, jumping around helps keep you engaged on your assignment and makes it easier when you get stuck.
This is where the five sentences trick also come in. After you write the five sentences, you can go back and forth filling them in. Sometimes an idea for a different paragraph might come to mind, and it makes sense to write that idea in rather than feeling obligated to stay on the paragraph you’re currently writing. When you edit and run a grammar check, you can make sure everything fits well together. Sometimes I find that my essays have a stronger, more cohesive argument the more I jump around, because an idea from one paragraph inspired the next paragraph.
Becoming a better writer is a process that’s unique to everyone. However, these five tips and techniques have helped me enjoy writing more than ever before, as well as getting better at it. Try them in high school, and you’ll likely find you’re more prepared for college writing!...