As fall approaches quickly, midterms are right around the corner. It can be daunting to juggle multiple deadlines and projects if you have a lot of essays to write.
Personally, I always preferred essays over exams. Writing an essay lies in the art of persuasion, and doing an exam doesn’t. I can just write some things, and a professor will look at it and go, “Yeah, I guess so,” and I’m set.
Not only did these tricks get me through all of high school and college, but they also helped me study Creative Writing and Literature. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it or that I was BS-ing my way through everything, but sometimes we cut corners for the sake of our mental health and sleep.
So, try these tips to make writing essays of any kind a bit easier on yourself:
1. Change the background color of your document.
This might seem stupid at first, but trust me. The eyestrain you experience can affect your sleep, stress levels, focus, and mood. If you go through the settings, you should be able to find something that will change the background color of the page from white to any color you wish. I always do a light mint green since it has a calming effect and makes the page easier to read.
2. Change your line spacing settings.
Every teacher and professor that I ever had always required a certain page count in double spacing. This leaves room between lines to make edits as they grade. In high school, the minimum page count was around three to five pages, in college it could range anywhere from five to 15 pages. My secret? It’s called cheating. Is it dirty? Yes, but it gets the job done. Cheat your page count by increasing the line spacing, and the best part is nobody ever realizes. Teachers and professors never measure it out, and assume its double spaced. Boom, requirements met sooner. A four-page essay suddenly becomes five-and-a-half pages if you change the main text spacing from 2.0 to 2.5. You can get to your page count sooner. This has been a life saver when I am desperate to fill just one more page so I can meet the minimum requirement and call it a night.
3. Ditch Microsoft Word.
In the past, Microsoft Word was my go-to word processor for all my writing. Now, I use Google Docs or Zolo Writer. These two have made writing a lot easier for me. They allow me to work on the essay anywhere from my laptop to a library computer. In addition, I didn’t have to save a file and send it around; instead, it just uploaded itself automatically.
Secondly, I don’t have to worry about saving my work if something were to happen to my computer. It constantly updates automatically, saving my work for me. Using the internet for writing has saved me so much time and worry about having to redo all the writing that didn’t save or transfer.
4. Learn some good bullshit lines.
You can re-use the same lines if they’re good hits. Some of my favorites include “It’s a comment on the human condition” and “No use reiterating these same useless platitudes.” With that said, it’s important that you don’t plagiarize these lines, so you have to come up with some good ones and hold onto them. Once you learn the proper way to phrase certain things, it can make you sound like you know what you’re talking about when, in some cases, you don’t. I have no clue what a comment on the human condition is, but academics eat that up every time.
5. Cite your sources as you go.
Holy shit, I cannot emphasize this enough. If you are new to citations and think you can just do all of them at the end of the essay, you couldn’t be more wrong.
If you quote something (which you should do frequently), you should make that citation before you finish the paragraph. There are many easy-to-use citation makers online that can format it for you — just keep track of your sources and research. So, cite your sources as you go, NOT at the end. It will save you hours of work down the line.
With a compromise of 50% cheating and 50% faking your own expertise, you too can graduate high school and college with just a few late nights instead of a lot of all-nighters. The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to be perfect — it just has to be done. So, don’t sweat the small stuff. Stay hydrated. You can do it.
And if any of my past teachers are reading this, I’m sorry. Please don’t take the fact that I coasted your class using these hacks personally.