The Nervous Chuckle

As part of session protocol, Writing Studio tutors always ask our writers when their assignments are due. Knowing such information guides us in providing feedback. When I asked this question to writers this week, the response I heard was a nervous chuckle. Only after chuckling did the writer tell me the due date. Hearing so many bouts of restrained laughter made me realize that the writers were expressing anxieties about their end-of-semester responsibilities when they responded to my question. The students I met with all communicated concern about the time they had to work on their papers, whether they had one day or ten to prepare them.

The end of Spring semester always seems to be a particularly stressful time of year for the writers who frequent the Writing Studio. They seem to display more stress at this point in the school year than at any other, including the end of Fall semester.  Regardless of the reasons why writers have more anxiety now than at other times, I thought it might be helpful to review some strategies that can ease writers’ anxieties.

1) Avoid procrastination.

2) Set a realistic schedule that will enable you to finish your assignments in a timely manner. Build into this schedule time for brainstorming, drafting, revising and some downtime where you are NOT working on an assignment. Giving yourself distance from your writing will enable you to approach the piece with a fresh perspective. That fresh perspective will also help you catch flaws in logic, awkward sentences, and grammatical errors.

3) Try to get enough sleep (I’ve been a student and realize that “try” is sometimes the best we can do.)

4) Have faith in yourself that you WILL be able to get everything done!

5) Don’t stress too much; adding stress and anxiety into the mix of wrapping up the semester is an unproductive use of your energy.

6) Always proofread before handing in an assignment.

Have other tips? Please share them as comments!

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