So, I’m back in school. I’m pursuing an MBA. My company will pay for some of it, but if I take classes at the pace scheduled by my school, I’ll still end up paying about $16K. I’ll probably have to spend the next half-decade going to school, so that my company pays for it. Money is a sore subject right now as I enter a short-sale situation on my townhouse (want to buy it really, really cheap?).
Anyway, that isn’t the point. The point is writing papers. I’m relatively certain that several of the readers of this blog were, at some point, employed by NHS, so this blog is going out to you. In my current school program, I fairly regularly have to read journal articles and other stuff, then write summary/opinion academic papers on the subjects contained therein.
In undergraduate college, I majored in Geology. I read bazillions of journal articles. Understand that by “read,” what I mean is that I printed them, put them in a three ring binder, put said binder on the 808 Grove kitchen table, then napped beside it. Occasionally I had to write papers. Truth-be-told, this paper writing thing was far more common in non-Geology classes like The Art of Literature or other broadly named classes like Social Problems, which much to my dismay did nothing for my social problem of being incapable of talking to girls when I was 18.
I hated writing papers. I always had these fantastic ideas, but I could usually summarize them in a page or two, which left me 12 to 15 pages of white space to fill. I generally had to allot about a week for a paper, and by allot a week for a paper, I mean I generally started about five hours before it was due. I somehow managed to get good grades despite all efforts to fail. I learned quickly that a good way to support an idea and fill a lot of space was to quote loads and loads of sources. It turns out that this actually helps you learn, too.
Anyway, I hated writing papers. More than about a page of text was exhausting. Reading that boring material was exhausting. Then, I got a job at NHS. Every day, as an editor, I would read dozens of pages of boring material. I would have to internalize dozens of specific processes and custom formatting protocols. Writing papers? Cake. I could pump out a three or four page report, generally grammatically accurately, in no time. The mental process of creating sentences, paragraphs and complete thoughts was second nature.
Now, I see a paper on the syllabus with seven to eight double spaced pages. Ha! Gimme a break. Cake.
I once spent 263 minutes on the phone with a lady in Texas, a nurse who was being treated poorly due to her race and gender (claims I generally disregarded but in this case were verified later by responses from her employer). The ensuing report, which was written following the release of approximately 7 gallons of urine from my bladder, took just one hour to write and was 14 single-spaced pages (based on almost 30 pages of notes). Seven to eight double spaced pages? Bring it.