By Amy Bennett and Sandra Oliva, M.S. | October 23, 2017
If you’re considering going back to school at Marian University, you should be aware that intensive writing courses are required. I know... for some of you, panic has already set in. The thought of writing an essay or report brings back nightmares. I enjoy writing, but even I have horrible memories of that dreaded “What I did over summer vacation” essay assigned every fall throughout elementary school.
Maybe you’re like me and writing isn’t the problem. It's more the coming up with the ideas and just getting started. Thinking back, it wasn’t the actual writing I hated; it was that I didn’t do anything particularly remarkable over my summers—no exotic vacations, no wonderful adventures, no shopping sprees on Michigan Avenue. I played kickball, rode my bike, went swimming at Lake Wawasee, and had an occasional sleepover with my neighbor, Rhonda Zartman.
You may also dread writing because you don’t give yourself enough time to do it. It’s difficult when you’re an adult with a full-time job and a family. I get it. We never have enough time, but you have to make it a priority, and you may also need to find a quiet place with no distractions. I know I do. More power to those of you who can zone out and do homework while your kids are playing video games or watching TV in the same room. Writing also requires concentration, and that’s impossible if you’re constantly checking your phone.
Others may also be worried about remembering all of the rules regarding proper citations and plagiarism. Understandable. The truth is, I don’t think most people plagiarize intentionally. For some, it's a matter of not fully understanding the proper way to cite sources. For others, it's the careless omission of a quotation mark. It can even be as simple as referencing a source in the work cited page that does not appear in the paper itself. (That's called padding the research.) The truth is, any time you use an outside source in your writing, you should be aware of the potential to plagiarize. So, how do you avoid plagiarism?
Seek additional help if you're still not sure. The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) has some excellent advice on summary, paraphrase, and quote. The Marian University Writing Center is there for you as well. Peer-tutors can help with any of your writing issues, not just questions on citing sources. I bet if you ask, they’d even help you with your summer vacation essay.
Related posts: Developing a Successful Writing Process and When MAPping Out Your Course of Study, Think English First
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