So you waited until the last minute on an assignment and you’re panicking. Sometimes you forget the due date, sometimes you just have a lot of other homework. What can you do to save that grade and save your sanity? Whether your project is a PowerPoint, visual presentation, or essay, a great way to start is by making a list of topics your professor wants you to cover and questions they want you to answer. Next come up with examples and points you’d like to make that will answer these questions and cover these topics. Keep in mind the aspects of the assignments or reading that interested you, or made you feel even a little bit enthusiastic about the material. Try to mention these in your project or essay. Even if the class isn’t your favorite or the topic wasn’t your first choice, when you write or talk about something you’re enthusiastic about it shows. Think of a good article you read, or an interesting presentation you watched. Part of the appeal was probably the author or presenter’s enthusiasm. This can work for you too!
Next it’s time to get down to the real work. If you’re doing a visual presentation make index cards so you know what you’re going to say and make sure the visual aspect adds to what you’re saying and illustrates your points. Imagine if you were watching your own presentation, would you be interested? If you’re writing a paper take a little more time to jot down your ideas, until you can’t think of any more. Each of these ideas can probably be turned into a paragraph. Find some quotations from an online article or the text you read in class, and use these to validate your statements, and tie them in with your ideas. Be sure to cite these sources. It can be helpful to go in at the end and add your introduction and conclusion, once you know what you want to focus on. Remember, whether you’re doing a paper or visual project, try not to pull an all-nighter, especially if you have to present in front of your class the next day. If an all-nighter is unavoidable, as they sometimes are, never underestimate the power of a 15-30 minute nap or a coffee break to get the ideas flowing again! Good luck!