REWIND to my first year – I’m in the Ram. I have 2,000 words to produce in the next few hours, but here I am, pretending otherwise. “First year doesn’t count,” I chant to myself, repeating the mantra in a pathetic attempt to validate my poor judgement. “Start your essay,” my only friend with half a brain recommends. So I do. Pint in one hand and laptop in the other, I start. Fast forward. With five minutes left, I start to resort to bullet points.
14:59:49. SUBMITTED. 11 milliseconds to go, but submitted nonetheless. It was BAD. Luckily, here’s what my professor thought:
“This is a very strange essay. It begins out rather strongly, the first two pages proceeding from point to point with good logical and coherent arguments. However, due to the prevalence of frequent spelling and syntactical errors, the weird system of annotation (the like of which I have never seen), the complete lack of italics on book titles and technical terms, and a few mistakes in historical dates (e.g. for 1361, “1961” on p. 1 is written), the essay tends to limp rather than stroll along. Page three consists of a series of notes mishmashed together often with a very odd sentence structure, sometimes with no verb or direct object, along with sloppy syntax and mis-spellings (e.g. paragraph 2), so the essay actually on this page stops limping and bites the dust. Although the essay picks itself up on page 4 in the first paragraph, its tumbles to the earth again in paragraph 2—with notes instead of full sentences given, and little rhyme or reason in their order. The conclusion on p. 5 is more focused, yet the same syntactical and grammatically problems of sentence structure still exist. The saving grace of the essay is the 12 sources used, which show an ample breadth of research. All in all, this essay, which exhibited so much promise at the start, ends up in its final delivery as very flawed. Grade: 54.”
– Isha Gurung
MY worst deadline story is Exeposé’s fault entirely, and has nothing to do with my inability to manage time, actually do any reading, and crippling fear of missing out. So there we were, at boozy bowling, me mixing espressos and shots as if I were the Russian mafia on an all-night watch. I knew I had a paper due the next day, I knew I was writing about the illiterate male ‘adored native’ character in postcolonial novels – I just hadn’t done any of my critical reading, primary sources, or actually started the essay. I just wanted to win at bowling.
On the pub crawl moved, and at the second pub I took my leave and dragged my heels back to campus. I had ten hours, enormous amounts of caffeine, and a true love of the subject. I took a short break at one point as I decided I was undeniably hungry.
Despite the three shots of vodka and four espressos inside me, churning like the world’s worst rollercoaster, I was starving.
it was 3am and not a single shop was open. Right: Monster Munch and Dairy Milk from the vending machine, and a crushed up Belvita I found in my handbag had to do.
I did get it done in the end. It was 7am and my essay had reached over two thousand words, the dappled sunlight flickering over all the references arranged alphabetically. I stumbled home, triumphant in my experience as a cautionary tale for students – you may be running late, but you don’t have it quite as bad as… that girl. I did get a 73 on it, however, so who’s laughing now?
– Neha Shaji
IN first year, the Monday of the week after reading week was when my first ever assessed essay was due. Having not done Psychology at A Level, I felt very unprepared for my Clinical Psychology essay. As a huge procrastinator, I’d barely done any work done by the end of Reading Week. Before I knew it, it was already Sunday, the night I promised to go out with my flatmates to celebrate Halloween.
By the time pre-drinks started, my essay was at around 1000 words, and nowhere near making sense. And so I decided to make a brave decision: to pre-drink while finishing up my essay. As I finished a bottle of cheap wine, the essay managed to reach a natural conclusion at 1592 words – more than I had ever expected. And as alcohol impairs decision making, my tipsy brain decided that my essay, which was meant to be 2000 words long, was ready for submission. So I submitted it and went on to have a fantastic night out at Unit 1, only to regret it the morning after, when I woke up with plenty of time to look at the essay before the deadline at 12pm.
Much to my surprise, I received a 2:1 for the essay! To quote the marker, the essay was ‘a good start and an encouraging sign for future work’.
FYI, this was my essay title: ‘What role can a clinical psychologist have in enabling a person with an alcohol problem to change behaviour?’
– Penny Dinh