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I Overcame an Overwhelming Assignment (With a Little Help)

Joined: 5/21/2011
Posts: 1
Last month, I turned in my research paper for my AP history class. I worked on it most of the month, and I really cracked down during spring break. I remember thinking to myself I hope I did well as I handed the finished paper in to my teacher a few short days before it was due.
My topic was on the European Witch Craze. At a minimum, it had to be five pages long, not including the bibliography. I was rather frightened because I had never done a research paper before. How was I supposed to write five pages on a topic that I didn’t find all that interesting in the first place?
My dad helped me a lot with the paper. He encouraged me to start writing the paper early. I took his advice and it proved to be a wise decision in the long run. He helped me work out a schedule and taught me to break the paper into chunks to make it less overwhelming and more manageable.
He took time out of his day to send me to the library several times to find sources, and he even came in with me a few times to search for books while I took notes on and pulled quotes from the ones I had with me. He even allowed me to reward myself for small accomplishments, such as writing a page-long paragraph.
Writing this paper has taught me a lot. It taught me to start early, how to cite sources in MLA format, and that little things add up. I learned to ask for help from the librarians, who showed me how to make good use of resources and taught me about the many types of reference materials. I also learned how to evaluate sources, make compelling arguments, and use relevant material to support my thesis. It even gave me a glimpse of college. At one point during my research, I decided that I liked my topic. The Witch Craze now sits in my Top 5 favorite history topics.
Earlier this month, I got my paper back. I was surprised to see that I had received a 97, which is much better than I had anticipated. In fact, I was elated. I’ve been struggling in that class for a very long time, and my high grade on the paper raised my percentage in history several points. My teacher even wants to use my paper as a “What to Do” example for his classes next year.
And I have hard work (and my dad) to thank for that.
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