Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do NOT procrastinate on term papers, no matter what!

That is my message to anyone who actually reads this blog: If you have a term paper due, and you know it's due, don't put it off. Even if you are busy or stressed, as I am, procrastination is not the answer.

I was always very good with this stuff in high school, but have gotten worse with it since I started college. I wonder if college is having a bad effect on me. Of course, I didn't have a job in high school and definitely not much of a social life, so it was easier for me to get that sort of stuff done. Now I do have a job and not just a job but a full-time job (although with three days a week the last few weeks it doesn't feel like a full-time job). With MiraCosta, it was all right; I was able to keep up even with work, but then I was working part-time for most of that time. Only in my second to last semester did I start to go to school while having a full-time job, and I struggled that semester too. Lately, I've been getting off early enough on the days I work that I could do homework, and with the little stuff I have actually done ok so far. But for bigger stuff it is hard sometimes because I come home from work tired and usually stressed out too, cause the last few weeks my only hours have been on weekends, and weekends are so much worse than during the week (especially midweek, like Wednesday or Thursday).

Not to mention that Sandra is pushing all of us to the breaking point most of the time, mostly to look good for the supervisors, especially Diana Kelly, who have been visiting a lot recently. I'm feeling it, Laura's feeling it, and I know Jose (one of the bakers) is feeling it. And probably Karen (the main baker) too. The cake decorators (the around 3rd-trimester-pregnant Noemi, Katie, and our new decorator Ana) not so much, except on weekends when there's a lot of cake orders. And newbies Jenna (a Massachusetts native with a Boston-esque accent who used to be a pastry chef and once tried out for Hell's Kitchen) and Silvinia (a Hispanic woman who understands English but doesn't appear to speak it) don't seem to feel the heat yet.

Yes, we have new people, and I think this might figure into why I am getting less hours. I'm not complaining -- time off is nice -- but I do want to make money. And $9.20 an hour ($10.20 on Sundays) for 24 hours a week isn't much, especially after taxes, Social Security, union dues, and the $7 that goes toward my insurance.

Anyway, I had a term paper due today for my History class, and though I got the books last week (one from our library and some from the Circuit) I didn't have a chance to do anything with them until this week, mainly Tuesday, yesterday, and today. I actually wrote the paper itself today; the rest of the time was spent in note-taking from sources. I barely finished it in time for class, even with the extra time I had thanks to French class being canceled today. This was mainly cause one of the sources was an e-book where I'd looked up things in the index that each had from one to three "see alsos" that I also looked up. I was having to go all over the place in the book, only to glean very little from the book anyway. Plus, according to the book on citation that Professor Mekenye told us to consult, I had to do Chicago style, which I've never done before. (Other history classes I've taken have used MLA). It turned out this mainly involved using footnotes for citations, which I am very familiar with from my book review for my World History class last fall, where I did MLA with footnotes. So it wasn't too bad. I had to check the summary I found on the CSUSM library site of Chicago style a few times and also look up how to cite an e-book in the library's print copy of The Chicago Manual of Style, the guide for Chicago style.

The introduction and conclusion, which I wrote last (I do this sometimes if I can't think of a good intro or conclusion right away), I don't think were very good since I wrote them in a hurry. But the rest of the paper was all right. I basically just used my notes to find the info and tried to structure it in a logical manner. As far as using the notes were concerned...thank God for OneNote. This nifty little program, included in my Student and Teacher Microsoft Office '07 suite, is very useful. I use it to take notes for my bio and history classes (the two classes I know I can use my laptop in) and have also been using it to organize plans for my websites. I simply put the term paper stuff into the "notebook" I already had for that class, and I did different "pages" with the info from each book. Changing pages in OneNote is way easier than cycling through Word documents like I used to do. And as for Word, it now has some nifty tools for entering citations and stuff. I didn't use that stuff, but I did use the new nifty "Insert Footnote" button.

Anyway, my next paper (I think) is paper #1 of my lit project, and aside from getting the books and doing the annotated bib, I have done nothing on that end, so I better get going on that. That is not due till October 14th, which seems like a long time yet, but that's really only a couple weeks, and time escapes me so fast these days. The first paper contains the first three parts of the final project, which are a biography of our chosen author, an "explanation of the writer's significance within literary history or histories," and an "in-depth" discussion of the writer's major themes. At least there's not as much analysis involved as shall be in the final project, but there's still a lot there. The biography will be eased by the fact that I actually found a real biography of my author, thanks to the ever-helpful Circuit that allows us to borrow books from UCSD, USD, and SDSU. As for themes, I found a lot of journal articles regarding the work we are going to read by my author, so hopefully that will help. I'm not sure on the second part; I'm going to ask Professor Cucinella to clarify that for me.

Fortunately, I did well on my Annotated Bibliography (an A-), which is nice considering the work I put into it (devoting most of a day off to it) and especially since I'd never done one before. The fact that Professor Cucinella posted a sample online for download was really helpful. I think Professor Cucinella's notes on my annotated bib. will help a good deal as well.

One lesson I learned from doing my history paper is to have a better idea of how the paper will be organized before going through your sources (whereas for my history paper I really only had a skeleton outline at first, without even a thesis). Now, as I mentioned, the topics have already been given and also what order they will be in, but where you use stuff from various sources is ultimately up to you, I figure. Also, it's up to you to put things from various sources into a logical order so that the paper flows well. That's how essay writing works.

This is the major project of this class, encompassing the whole semester, and the rest really is just reading and a few tests. If I can keep up on the reading (which except for Mexican Village I have been doing good on), I can devote more time to making the project good. And I really want to pass this class, not only because it can count as an elective toward my major, but because it is a 400-level (meaning senior year level) course, and I am technically still a junior (300-level) so I will feel like I accomplished something by doing well in this class.

The bar has definitely been raised this semester. The jump from community college to the university is quite a leap to say the least. It's not going to be easy. But, to quote my favorite Queen song, "I consider this a challenge before the whole human race, and I ain't gonna lose."

Not much else has been going on, really. I spent the ride home from school relaxing, feeling after the agony of doing the report I deserved a little rest. I played Pokemon Pearl and then listened to a new episode of WTPT, which was about Berries.

My pleasure reading has been scant lately, thanks to having so much reading for my Lit class, as well as reading for all my other classes, mainly Bio and History. But I did manage to re-read The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan while trying to also read for my classes, and now I am re-reading Sixth Covenant, book 6 of the A.D. Chronicles series by Brock and Bodie Thoene.

My video-making has been scant too; I haven't posted anything in around a month on my main account, and in a while on my backup one. I have run dry on ideas, so I am focusing on my fandubs. I am still planning Act 24 of the Dark Mercury Arc Fandub Project and am waiting for the rest of the lines from AmyMizunoPGSM, who, if all goes well, will be our new Usagi. I also need to finish planning what music to use and record my lines.

Also, I am planning some solo fandubs - two Pokemon eps, some songdubs, and a redo of my second fandub for the channel, a Generator Gawl fandub.

Okay it's getting late and I have to get up early tomorrow. I'll post later about the English workshop I went to yesterday. Bye for now!

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