On Rough Drafts

I am a senior in college studying English Literature, which means that my major consists of reading, extreme analysis, and then writing about it.  I don’t take too many tests, but I do write quite a few papers.  And, like a typical English major, I usually procrastinate on writing my papers until late the night before they are due.  Or even the days before they are due.  At my worst moments, hours before I am to hand in a paper analyzing some text through a theoretical lens, printing it off just in time to head to class.  The blessing and curse of the situation is that I can get away with it.  I have never had to put more effort into a paper, so I don’t.  My work is quality and earns me decent grades.  Why fix something that works?

Recently, I had a week away from my ‘normal’ life because I didn’t get to see my best friend.  Needless to say, I was quite bored.  And for the first time ever, I decided to give the concept of the rough draft a try.  I had the time; the concept seriously intrigued me.  I was fascinated by the idea.  So, I outlined a paper over a week and a half before it was due.  A detailed outline, complete with page numbers for quotes supporting my argument.  Then I left it alone.  Now old habits die hard, so yesterday morning, I returned to my outline and decided to freewrite a rough draft – to let my thoughts and words just spew all over the page without any organization whatsoever.  I had planned to return to my rough draft last night to write the final draft in typical late night before English major fashion.  However, I found myself exhausted and slightly sick, so I decided sleep was in order and procrastinated on my final draft until this morning at 7 am – 4.5 hours before it was due.  It was very much less stressful to complete my final draft because I had put so much work into it already.  And I found that my thoughts were much more clearly organized.  Spewing words yesterday helped me identify themes, as well as pointless detail that I could eliminate – essential given the fact that I had a strict page limit and list of topics I was to cover within the narrow 4-5 page limit.  I actually finished the paper, within the narrow confines of the page limit, approximately an hour and a half before it was due without stressing out about it at all.  I have decided that the rough draft is a very beneficial idea; I regret being so doggedly stubborn in my insistence to avoid it in the past.  My work could potentially be better – something I would greatly delight in.  My curiosity has led to quite the discovery and further intrigue.  How will my work in the future improve if I choose to write rough drafts?  I suppose only time will tell…

On Mocha Cheesecake

My friend Lo and I have taken to researching grad schools and studying for the GRE at Myle’s Baker Street.  It has an amazing atmosphere, free internet, and excellent coffee and baked goods.  My favorite in the past week has been the mocha cheesecake.  Let me tell you… the cheesecake is beyond delicious.  The combination of chocolate and coffee flavors blended to perfection has sometimes been the only thing I have been able to stomach in the past week.  It is the perfection of comfort food for me, since coffee and chocolate solve the world’s problems with me… or my problems with the world, whatever the case may be.  So longish story short, mocha cheesecake is superb.  Try it.