December 6, 2008 10:24 PM

The Term Paper

I had to write a ~30 page term paper for ESPM 100. I had the entire semester to do my research, conduct my interviews, and compile all of my data into a single document. It seems like this is nothing new for a lot of people, maybe particularly here at Berkeley. But for me, I had never done anything this extensive, let alone write more than 10 pages on a single subject. What's worse is that I have had a horrible history with papers. It would usually take me a couple month just to write a 5 page paper. I've always had difficulty with starting it, continuing it, and finishing it. It was a dreadful experience the entire time.

But when it came to this paper, things were different. First of all, I got to research any environmental topic I wanted. I have a great interest in behavior change and a peculiar one with native plants so I researched the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour. Off the bat, my paper was on something I was very much interested in. Secondly, I got the research done early. I took care of my interviews quite early and the other data even earlier. By the time I had to write it, I had all the info I needed and it was just a matter of articulating everything I had learned into roughly 30 pages. Evidently, I realized that that was the key to making writing papers really easy. As long as you know what you're writing about, you can write forever. Which turns out to be a lot easier than BS-ing because I used to write like that and I would struggle to get 5 pages even within a few months.
So how did it all work out? Well it took me a 2 days to get from page 0 to 12, 1 day to get from 12 to 24, and a 5 hours to get from 24 to 32! I seriously could not believe that I had done what I did. From being someone who struggled to get 5 pages to being able to punch out that many pages in that little time without BS-ing is amazing to me! In fact, writing this paper has given me the confidence to write others, which I know will happen in the future. It's an awesome feeling to know that I made that type of improvement in myself and I'd just like to put that out there, to take things as a challenge and grow from them.


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