O.R.W.: The Art of Writing College Papers

Before I begin, I’d like to make a clarifying statement to any of my professors who may be reading this: Know that in no way do I, or would I ever, subscribe to the methods and tips about to be provided. My papers are the product of 100% wholehearted research and honest effort in the realms of academia—great thought and extensive planning go into each and every piece of writing I submit. Please do not let the column that follows deter you from giving all of my subsequent essays full marks.
Alright, let’s get started.
You’ve got an essay to write. It’s been assigned over three weeks ago, but as all rational college students prefer to do, you’ve left it for the night before. Panic mode has set in, threatening to leave you a nerve-wracked, drooling mass on the floor. Your name and a title sit alone at the top of a white blank page, the blinking cursor mocking you.
Relax. Cranking out a college paper on a deadline is easy.
First: write out your thesis statement. Then state how the professor’s essay question relates to your thesis. Then say it again. Then one more time, for emphasis. Finish off with a thought-provoking quote; it doesn’t even have to relate. This is your introductory paragraph.
Now, the body. Broad and open-ended topics are key. This allows you to meander all over the place without straying too reasonably far from your thesis. An essay into the life of Picasso? The perfect opportunity to discuss why he was never made into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle like Michelangelo and Donatello—and, by extension, whether he would have preferred the Bo staff or nunchakus.
Heavy prose has the effect of making you sound highly intelligent while you in fact say nothing at all. Politicians use this method all the time. Shower your statements with large amounts of “hitherto’s” and therefore’s” and all sorts of five-syllable adjectives, and your pulled-out-the-ass fluff will be the equivalent of literary gold.
Utilize the semi-colon and hyphen at every possible moment; it may make for several run-on sentences, but damn, does your Panglossian approach look professional.
Run out of things to say? Throw in a bunch of quotes. Despite what every professor everywhere says, Wikipedia is the most valuable resource at your fingertips. It’s just a matter of how you use it. Don’t cite Wikipedia itself as a source—rather, scroll to the bottom and gobble up all the links listed there. The beauty is you don’t even have to read into them that much. Just grab a couple choice phrases from each, copy-paste, copy-paste, and soon you’ve got a Works Cited page beautiful enough to make your most stringent professor jump out of his sweater-vest for joy.
Here’s something else to think about: when a professor assigns an essay, they’re setting themselves up for about four and a half billion hours of reading and grading. And since college professors are apparently human beings, with lives outside the classroom and interests beyond reading students’ half-baked takes on “Postmodernism Philosophy and its Application in Derivative Thought”, there’s going to be some skimming and lack of focus going on.
Which is the perfect opportunity for you to work in some filler.
Throw in a recipe for chocolate chip cookies halfway through. Even if your professor does pick up on the fact that “Preheat oven to 375° F and lather cookie sheet with Crisco” has no place in an essay on postmodernism, they’ll most likely get a kick out of the break in repetition. And it’ll make them hungry.
Slowly increase the font size every few paragraphs. While you’re at it, keep narrowing the margins: it’ll be such a natural progression that by the end of the paper your professor won’t even notice they’re only reading one word per line.
And then all that’s left is to wrap it up! You’re on your own for that one—I’d love to hear how you sum up an essay on postmodernist Teenage Mutant Ninja Picassos baking chocolate chip cookies.