Chen: I Survived Research Papers

Junior Research Papers

Hua Chen

Junior Research Papers

Hua Chen, Staff Writer

The spring semester of school for juniors at MSMS contains not only blooming flowers and increasing daylight hours, but also their worst headache: research papers. For those who love writing, this is a piece of cake; for others, it is the whole cake. In my case, it was two whole cakes.

These cakes were English and biology flavored, spread with a thick icing of typical MSMS rigor. They gave the week before spring break a quiet, laborious atmosphere, with most juniors either shut in their rooms or between library bookshelves. I, too, was not spared from this work, but somehow, I was able to complete both of these cakes by sparing a large amount of sleep.

Through this experience, I realized two contradicting things: Do not underestimate research papers and their ability to wreck your GPA, but also, appreciate the fact that only two teachers are grading the whole junior population of research papers.

A big part of the research paper was finding research online with the requirement of three secondary sources. During my adventure exploring the sources, I found articles with word counts longer than the novel I was researching. Although this means the sources were long and tedious to observe, they also gave a lot of informative points to support my paper, consuming a few days of time in order to analyze the information thoroughly. This was new to me, and I had a great deal of trouble writing it, but it gave me new knowledge and skills, which I am appreciative of.

Additionally, another inconvenience in my research paper experience was forming the thesis statement. With so many topics at hand, it became difficult to compose a logical thesis covering the subjects. If successful, however, an informative thesis statement would set a helpful outline for the entire essay. The two research papers were big dividers for juniors and their spring break.

As much as I struggled, however, I believe that writing the research paper allowed us an opportunity to face what college students are doing. If followed as planned, this experience will be extremely beneficial when we go into colleges and universities where research papers are a regular assignment. Not only are we exposed to specific MLA and APA formatting, but we are also learning the process of actual researching. Most of all, we would have learned that, for our senior research papers, procrastinating is not an option if one does not want their GPA to drop.

I would say that research papers are a hassle, but maybe rightly so. Teachers should not waste their time assigning us long six to eight pages of essays. Then again, the amount of essays they need to read and grade is respectable. Although the experience was difficult and strenuous, the knowledge gained afterwards is beneficial. At the end of the day, the research papers helped with developing or improving my reading skills of critical analysis texts, just like how cake gives you calories.

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