The Undergraduate’s Guide to Paper Writing

So it’s finals season and that means one thing: PAPERS! We all know that in class finals are either a lost cause, or no problem because you are about to cash in a semester’s worth of favors from the T.A. who has been making passes at you. Papers are the challenge. It’s class free reading days, so God clearly intended you to be at Cav’s from 7 am to 11 pm, but your professor clearly intended for you to be in Van Pelt during the same hours. Not to worry, the Punch Bowl is here to take your hand (in the platonic sense) and guide you through the whole process to the very climax (in the non-platonic sense. Hey might as well have some fun with STSC 231).

The Thesis
The easiest part of the whole process. Why? Because your professor has already told you what to write about, what stance to take, and what sources to use. Always. If a you think a professor has spent the last 4 months talking about the evils of capitalism because he or she wants to read a paper on the beneficial role of hedge funds in directing capital then you should just go home to your bed, which I should add is empty because you thought your ex wanted your “honest” opinion on this song/dress/idea. No sir, your paper will be on how Wall Street is a vampire squid sucking the marrow out of America. Boom, you have your first 30 points.

The Sources
You’re an undergrad in a time crunch, not a grad student whose only purpose is to read books and smoke jays. Whatever you want to say, someone had said it in a far more articulate, well researched manner. Find this person, for they will lead you to the Promised Land. Boom, you have your only real source and another 20 points. Next, two more books that say the same think, but you will cite them from time to time instead. This emphasis on books will give your paper the appearance of “researched” They must be books. “I researched this in a book has much more heft than “I googled dat shit.” Books also have much more literal heft, and whipping one at the prof in the event of a A- is never a bad choice. Each book counts for 10 points. See, we are already up to a C- and we haven’t written jack yet. Your next source is a government document. Always a government document. The fancy seal and +2000 pages common to all of them is the plot spackle in your paper. Have a point that you conjured out of thin air? BAM: government document citation. Is the professor willing to roll through 2000 pages to make SURE that Agriculture department internal operations manual #453-FS1 doesn’t relate to the social stigmas of the Ashanti Tribe? Methinks no. Another 10 points and we have moved into the Bs and out of the grading shame zone.

The Razzle Dazzle
A picture is not worth 1000 words; it is worth 150 double spaces size 12 Times New Roman words. Except it takes 1/1000th of the time to create. Use 3, more if you have a paper that actually suggests the use of pictures Art History students, if your paper has more than 6 inches of text you are doing it WRONG! Have a cover page? Add it now, and print it on decent ivory stock for god’s sake. This is a final, not the writing seminar piece you co-wrote with Jack Daniels on Sunday night at 11:56. 10 more points, and we have now reached that magical point at which the parents start swooning over how brilliant you are.
The Professor
Tap that.

The Final Product: 98 points (consider stretching first next time).

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