The Five Stages of Writing a Research Paper

Everyone has been there. The end of the term is fast approaching and all of those papers and final projects you had noted on the syllabus as being months away are quickly becoming a reality. Those problems that future you was going to deal with are now all yours. But no need to panic—you’ve got this. A few thousands words on an esoteric topic can’t keep you down. Below are the five stages of writing a research paper as a graduate student at Ooligan and how to deal with them.

Stage One: Denial

How could it possibly already be week eight of the term? Why, it was just yesterday you were a doe-eyed youth looking over the syllabus and thinking about all the time you had to choose a well thought-out topic and get your research done early. That may not have happened, but prepared or not, the time to dig in and do some work has begun.

Stage Two: Anger

This stage is marked by intense feelings of rage tinged with just a hint of spite. You may find yourself asking, “Why is it that every single class requires a research paper?” That’s a great question, and one I don’t have the answer to. But the fact is that you came to school to learn and better yourself and expanding your knowledge base is a part of that. If you find that anger overwhelms you, just remember that it’s all for your own good.

Stage Three: Bargaining

When writing a paper, bargaining can take on many forms. It could be bargaining with your professor for more time, or bargaining with yourself for treats. Surely if you find two sources, you deserve a brief, yet intense cookie break, don’t you? Whatever deals you make, just be sure that there is an equal work-to-reward ratio.

Stage Four: Depression

You’ve fallen into a deep depression after writing your introduction and subsequently binging on not one, but two boxes of Oreos. You begin to ask yourself what the point of it all is, and why you’re even in grad school in the first place. You had a good thing going at the coffee shop. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years you could have made night manager, and then from there it would have been just a simple forty years before retirement and then just a few more years until the sweet release of death. Snap out of it! Put those barista skills to use and make yourself a cup of coffee, because you’ve got a paper to write and a long night ahead of you.

Stage Five: Acceptance

Congratulations, you’ve managed to complete yet another paper that you can use for your final portfolio. It’s been a wild journey of self doubt and procrastination, but it was all worth it to get that sweet sweet email confirmation in D2L. Hopefully, you have learned a thing or two about yourself in the process and that you can apply to future endeavors. At the very least, you’ve given yourself much needed experience before you tackle your thesis and the cycle starts all over again.

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