This post discusses the paper writing process without access to a library or even the ability to leave my house. This content uses referral links.
The semester is quickly wrapping up, and I’m growing concerned about my ability to finish all these papers in time. The days are all starting to run together, and I’ve had to modify my paper writing process to keep up. I’ve spent nearly every waking hour—of which there have been plenty—writing.
At this point, I’ve been locked in my house for five months. I’ve never smoked as many cigars in so short a time as I have since the lockdown began.
Paper writing has consumed my life. I have three papers I have to write. This has forced me to increase the efficiency of my paper writing process. Most of my peers seem to spend much less time on papers than I do.
The Roman Law paper has turned out to be much more extensive than I anticipated. It’s due much later than my other papers, but I have to present my research in seminar next Wednesday. So, I needed to have at least the first draft finished before then.
This is the most complex and in-depth paper that I have ever written. Add that to the additional difficulty created by the library’s shutting down, and it has been an all-consuming endeavor. Indeed, I have discovered several paper writing inefficiencies through this experience. One of the most significant problems I’ve faced with this paper is failing to focus on what I wanted to do early on.
In fact, I didn’t settle on the paper’s thesis until I was already nineteen pages into a twenty-page paper. I had planned on looking at Philemon through the lens of Greek manumission laws but then decided to shift my focus to 1 Corinthians 7. Unfortunately, that means that I’ll have to go back and cut a lot of the work that I have already done.
I finished the first draft, but as it is a first draft, it’s crap. I have a lot of work left to do, but it’s good enough to help me put together a presentation for Wednesday’s seminar. Since the final paper is due much later than my others, I’m putting it aside for the time being.
Now it’s time to move onto my Hellenistic Philosophy paper. I’m writing about whether James 2:10—“You see that the person who keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it”—is an allusion to the Stoic paradox. I’ve done enough research to write the first draft, so I hope to have something done by next Tuesday.
The first draft is just the end of the beginning of the paper writing process, but it’s an important milestone nonetheless. The earlier I can get it done, the better. I hope to have the entire paper finished by the end of next week. This paper is due April 27th—a week earlier than I initially thought—so I am anxious to get it out of the way.
In addition to all of this, I still have my third and final three-thousand-word Systematic Theology paper due at the end of the semester. I think I’ll be able to get that one done in about ten hours, though, so I’m not as concerned about it as I am the others.
I hope I’m right because this paper is due just three days after the Hellenistic Philosophy paper, and I haven’t even started it yet.
I have loved my time at Yale, but I feel significantly more exhausted at the end of this semester than I did at the end of the last one. I was busy, but I was never stressed about getting things done. I completed everything with plenty of time to spare.
This semester, however, has been crazy, and I have a difficult time getting a handle on everything. Fortunately, however, I elected to take a passing grade in Theologies of Religious Pluralism by completing only seventy-five percent of the work. I submitted the last required one-thousand-word paper this week, so now I’m done with that class. So, I don’t have to worry about the final paper.
Even with this load off, however, it will be tight getting everything done in time. On top of the other three papers, I have a final exam in Roman Law. So, I’ll probably have to devote about ten hours to that.
Surging to the End
Trying to get everything done has left me sleep-deprived. Thursday was the first time since I’ve been at Yale that I missed a class. The night prior, I stayed up until 4:00 am working on my Roman Law paper. Then I accidentally slept through my Systematic Theology class.
Fortunately, it was recorded, so I can go back and watch it when I have forty-five minutes to spare. (Jürgen Moltmann zoomed in, so I’ll want to see that.)
I then stayed up all night Thursday working on papers. I used to do this regularly in college and law school, but I’m too old now to bounce back from it like I used to. My paper writing process can no longer include late nights, so I need to figure that out.
I went to bed as soon as my Friday Systematic Theology section ended at 11:30 and woke up at about 4:30 in the afternoon. I need to get more sleep. In just a couple of weeks, though, I’ll be enjoying my summer, free of the stress of the semester.
The COVID Saga Continues
The Associate Dean of Students sent out an email this week implying that YDS was discussing the possibility of starting the semester late or starting on Zoom with the hope of transferring into live classes as able later in the semester.
This whole thing has been insane. I never thought that I would see anything like this in my life, where people are terrified of their fellow citizens, treating their neighbors like walking biohazards. But here we are.
I’m just trying to get through the semester and hoping to make it back to Arkansas for the summer. The world has gone insane, and it has become impossible to make plans with any level of certainty.
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