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5 Tips to Nail Your Essay Deadlines

Leiden University College Class of 2022 & currently works as an Intern at the Embassy of Mexico in The Hague, Netherlands

1. Reflect on what makes you thrive.

You might “work well under pressure”, but is the stress worth it? I read a phrase recently about how although “diamonds are formed under pressure, bread dough rises when you let it rest” (Stallings, 2021). We all thrive under different situations. Thus, it’s worth reflecting on when you’ve actually performed and felt your best, and aim to recreate that setting. When we’re feeling behind on an assignment, it’s easy to ask classmates how they are doing, in the hope that they relate. If they’re doing worse, that makes us feel better. I don’t know why we take comfort in shared procrastination and stress, but I do know that each person has their own timing. So…

2. Have an agenda.

This can help you keep track of your work and life habits and give you the space to reflect on what has gone well. Even if you’re someone who can have all their appointments and deadlines clear in their mind, an agenda will take that mental load off your shoulders and make space for other things.

3. Make a timeline.

So, you got your assignment. First, write the deadline in your agenda. Then, make a list of the essay’s sections: introduction, arguments, and conclusion. Now, having your agenda on hand, determine how much of each section you can do each day until the deadline. Of course, life happens, and you might need to make adjustments, but splitting the work into smaller tasks will make an intimidating essay seem more manageable. Not only will a timeline keep you on track and prevent last-minute cramming, but ticking off those boxes on your to-do list is a great source of satisfaction.

4. Don’t dismiss the ‘sucky first draft.’

Every great achievement I’ve had in my university and post-graduation life has come from thinking “Why not? I might as well try.” From deciding to take part in a competition because “why not” – and ending up winning – to getting into a prestigious university, the “why not” way of thinking has led me to wonderful places. I have realised that taking the pressure off of projects gives me the space to make mistakes and enjoy the process. Often, the hardest part is starting the essay. So, write an idea, even if it seems senseless. Try to write some arguments and justify them; you might find out they actually make sense. Eventually, you’ll arrive at a first draft that is better than nothing. Then, you can revise until you create an essay you’re satisfied with.

5. Respect yourself.

To procrastinate less, I’ve found a deceivingly simple trick: count back from five and when you arrive at zero, do the thing you’ve been avoiding. Crucially, when you’ve told yourself you will do something, keep that promise to yourself. If we can’t keep our own promises, we can’t expect others to do so. So, show yourself that you’re worth respecting, and think of giving yourself the ideal conditions to work as an act of self-love.

Overall, by continually facing personal and academic feats, we get to know ourselves better and understand what it takes to tackle such challenges. It is not only a matter of simply delivering, but of having fun with it. So, essay writers, why not start now? Why not let yourself shine?

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