by Clarke Weldon.
I have been at university for 5 years now. My degree takes a long time. This is a guide on how to write Arts essays, in specific English Literature and Philosophy ones. I'm not being tongue in cheek or NUFFIN, this is actually how I get good grades.
It's fun to think of me being in first year, writing these cute little essays full of my own whimsy and personal opinions. They got OK grades, but they never reached the High Distinction holy grail. As I've gotten older and more cynical, I've finally realised how to win at university. All you need is: excellent comprehension skills (about year 10 level) and a good grasp of the English language, that or a thesaurus.
Here is the first and most important rule*: You have your own original ideas on the essay topic? DON'T MAKE ME SICK. Who the fuck do you think you are. If your theory hasn't been written about before by some renowned critic, then it is most likely retarded, completely missing the point or inconsequential. This especially applies to philosophy. Completely disregard any original thoughts you have. Just say no! I handed in an essay draft this semester, and just for funsies I put one paragraph in of my own personal opinions. The marker sent it back with that paragraph circled and written next to it was "This isn't necessary". Of course it's not!
*The only person who can escape this rule is a true genius. You are most likely not a genius.
What are you meant to write then? Easy. All my essay questions I've received ever relate back to some topic we've studied in class. Duh. All topics have a reading list in the unit guide where the lecturer has selected out the critics he/she thinks are on the ball. Most of the time, there are critics listed who write from opposing sides about your topic. READ URRRTHING ON THE READING LIST. If you don't have a reading list, go to your lecturer and whine "I'm having trouble finding good articles about my topic, I just really need some help, my dog died!!!". If they don't help, you can make BFF with GoogleScholar. Click on Scholar Preferences next to the search button. Scroll down to "Library Links" and write in the name of your university. Click "find library" and then you can gain access to all the articles your school pays for from the comfort of your own home.
So once you've read everything, extract the parts that relate to your essay question. This is the comprehension part. This is going to be 90% of your essay. Make sure to name the theorists i.e. "Or as Frege theorises..." and then rephrase their theories in your own words. This is the English language part. The rephrasing shows you understand the theories. Organise the theorists in a logical, flowing manner. Your essay is ALMOST done. Make sure you are not just blindly listing theories, they have to relate and kinda answer the essay question.
This next part is really important. To give your essay a touch of the personal, you choose which theorists you like, and which you don't. After addressing each theorist, write some sentence like "I personally do not agree with Freud's account because..." or "In my opinion, Farrell's theory is certainly on point as..." and list some reason. This makes it seems like you've really put a lot of thought into it. You haven't! You can add an extra paragraph in to your essay perhaps reconciling the differences between opposing theorists, or just summarising which theorist you are siding with.
I like to make my conclusions a bit cute. I sum up my answer to the essay question, reiterate my major point (which theorist I like) and then I drop a little banger: perhaps one of my own original thoughts, a question that my essay gives rise to that would be interesting to consider next....just something a bit left of the centre to prove to your lecturer you are an original thinker, when you're really not.
Now you may be all "I don't care about grades, I care about personal integrity in my academic career!!". That's cute. This just in: employers* care about HDs, not about you expressing yourself as an individual. For them, HDs = intelligence, even though, you know, it doesn't.
*This probably doesn't apply to fine arts or anything where you have a "portfolio".
So you can see that writing an essay isn't really about what YOU think, it's about organising existing theories in a concise and clear manner. I 100% guarantee this method to get you dem HDs like it ain't no thang. University is hilarious. Don't hate the player, hate the game!!!
Love Clare xoxo
8 hours ago