I no know who send me message too oh! Abeg, help me ask. As if the number of degrees I have is not enough – 3 as it stands. I sent myself to add more letters after my full-stop; I enrolled on a part-time (thank You Jesus for that!) PGCE course based on social research.
Recently I had to write a 4500 word essay on a teaching and learning research area. Now I’ve easily written blog posts that were more than 2000 words in one sitting, that I had to divvy up into 2 or more separate posts.
But to even write 100 words for this essay was like forcing a non-English speaking person to speak Queen’s English. It was as if my brain didn’t want to be academic any more. Or maybe my engineering mindset was looking for something physical to setup and run and test and graphs to plot! This social research literature review was giving me none of those tangible things. My brain was annoyed that it had to grind so hard! It was even difficult reading the papers, I had to use a different Internet browser so I won’t be tempted to login to my social media accounts. (I mean it’s social research – it may have something in common with social media! #justsaying)
Given that the submission deadline was just after the Christmas break, the thing was niggling on my mind like little foxes spoiling my Christmas w(v)ine. My mum had bought me a 2017 diary/planner and I set myself a target to type 1000 words or I wasn’t allowed to do anything else.
If you saw me that day, you’d have thought I was in a halfway house and didn’t know how to live free. I glued my behind to my bed twisting and turning to improve blood circulation!
I sat there most of the day being antisocial. My family kept keeping tabs on my word count for me! “How far?”; “How many have you written now?” I just had to smile and answer as I was (not) getting frustrated at the snail-pace writing I was doing that I could almost count the words and type coherently at the same time!
As soon as I crossed the 1000-word mark, I was like someone who had just come up for air after being submerged in water for a while. I flew out of that bed speedily and made my way down to be with my family. Victory! I hadn’t even got halfway to the 4500-word mark I was aiming for. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a step!
Then guess what?
I realised that the word count included the words in the Reference list at the end.
Image credit: Michael Hyatt
You can just imagine how I felt when that dawned on me. With little hope for a positive response from the tutor that the reference list was part of the final word count, I still sent an email asking if it was. And like Job, the thing I feared came upon me – the references didn’t count towards the essay’s word count. I had to start doing subtraction and addition with the word count to see how many more I had left to go. My arithmetic skills were definitely getting some work out!
I gave myself 1000-word targets; most days I managed 500 words or less. It took all the I could muster to keep going. Then I ‘lost’ some time the weekend of submission due to a training despite being rather exhausted from the first week back at work.
(Side note: full-time home makers with children, I salute you!)
So Sunday was my last opportunity to have the final go at it. I spun and pulled and edited and googled to add the extra words necessary to make the word count gap close without losing the flow of the essay. My brain was in overdrive. My eyes were beginning to hurt from staring at the screen that long.
Throughout I refused to worry about completing the essay. It had to be done and I didn’t want to ask for an extension. You might have heard this before: work fills up the time allocated to it. When the worry thought reared its ugly head, I promptly beheaded it. It kept resurrecting like never-die cartoon characters but kept dying till it lost its 9 lives.
I won in the end. Hallelujah! Amen! Essay was submitted after my preferred bedtime but before the midnight deadline.
Only GOD knows what grade I’ll get on it. The last one I did – a 2000-word essay in 3 hours got me a B. So if I extrapolate, ghast chop an A, abi A* in this one that took me quadzillion times the amount of time! Ghast!!! Or else . . . Hehe
Descriptive essay over!