If I have learned anything so far in college, it is the art of writing a 7-10 page paper. Well, that and what “intersectionality” means, but that is a whole different story. Nearly every class I’ve had (except science classes) has instructed me to write a 7-10 page paper on something. Often, I get to pick that something, which is getting easier with time, though starting off in English 124, it was pretty daunting.
Now, I know many of you hated English 124/5, but being the nerd I am, I quite enjoyed it. Whether this was because of the interesting reading material (I highly recommend reading Paul Auster’s City of Glass), my wonderful, hyperactive GSI Asynith, or the cute guy I did projects with, I couldn’t tell you. It was a pretty standard general English class. We spent most of the hour and a half learning about papers, workshopping each other’s papers, and watching Asynith bounce around. But this was where I first learned to write a 7-10 page paper, though of course, then, they tended more toward 6 and a half. I had no idea I was even able to come up with enough material for that many pages. I remember asking Asynith if we were just supposed to make the three body paragraphs extra big. Cause I was still pretty stuck in high school at that point, I hadn’t even begun to imagine writing more than five paragraphs!
7-10 pages has since become a pretty standard part of my life. I write probably 8 per semester, sometimes more. Last semester, I definitely had five in one three week span. At the end of my undergraduate career, I want to just go through my Microsoft Word files and count how many pages I’ve written. Just for fun. Or so that I can put it somewhere on my Facebook.
Someday though, I will no longer will have to write 7-10 pages with an introduction and a conclusion. Well, I suppose I may have to write the same amount, but they will no longer be musings on in-class readings, or analyses of other people’s obscure political science research. It actually makes me sad that in a year, I will no longer have a reason to do a critical reading paper about a book or a poem. This semester was the first that I did not take a traditional English-y class, which makes me feel like something is missing. Most of my favorite papers have been about a book or poem, rather than about political theory. English-major envy, probably. I already miss those types of papers, and I wonder what it will be like to not get to create the things that have been such a source of pride and stability over the past three years.
Anyway, my point is, that though we all struggle with our 7-10 page papers, they won’t last forever. Most of us will actually be done with them alarmingly soon. And yeah, we’ll still get to write, creatively, personally, or for work. But it won’t be the same, you know?