Threads

See more results

Topics

Usernames

Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

Difficulties in writing coherently
22

lookingformybrain · 04/04/2020 05:48

I'm a mature student at university. I had my DD in my first year and I've taken a few years out with the permission of my university due to extenuating circumstances (bereavement and severe depression).

I'm now back and have a few pieces of coursework to submit to finally complete my second year.

I'm currently trying to write an essay on a very straightforward subject. I understand what I need to include in order to write this essay, yet I'm finding it incredibly difficult to put my ideas in to writing in a way that answers the question directly.

It's making me so anxious that I'm thinking that maybe I'm incapable of writing all together Sad. I've read a few sample undergraduate essays online, but they don't seem to be up to a very good standard.

Another thing is that worries me is my lack of good references. I worry that they are irrelevant, although they show evidence of a phenomena occurring, and not up to date. I struggle finding good studies to back up my statements because I'm not great at researching papers, plus it's very time consuming.

Any help?

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

lookingformybrain · 04/04/2020 05:49

I've been up since 3am, so excuse the typos

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Celeriacacaca · 05/04/2020 09:53

Your post is very coherent and clear so you CAN write! It sounds as if your self-confidence has take a bashing with all that you've been through.

Is there someone you can speak to about this ie tutor to give you some pointers on the writing and research?

I think once you get started your self belief will return. In the meantime, don't be too hard on yourself. Take care.

Please
or
to access all these features

Krong · 05/04/2020 10:04

There are great resources at the university itself about writing, how to write well etc.. I remember doing a few 1-2-1 sessions that they offered which really helped. Although now is obviously not the time.

There are plenty of books out there on 'how to write', get in touch with your university library on study guides/resources. They will have plenty to recommend in terms of books etc, and don't say they're closed, because I know they are all working online and have plenty of online or scanned content to share with students!

Please
or
to access all these features

Krong · 05/04/2020 10:08

I want to add: writing is not just an inherent skill we all have, you have to learn it and practice. Writing for university essays is a very different skill to say writing a short story. Don't give up or worry about it, it's all a process of learning and improving.

Sometimes it can help to just build out your points bit by bit, e.g.:
Step 1: bullet for each paragraph
Step 2: more in-depth bullets for each paragraph
Step 3: plan out and add your sources and quotes for each paragraph
Step 4: build out the points within each paragraph e.g. 2 points you want to make within each
Step 5: start building out the words

And so on...

You don't just have to sit and start writing perfect essay worthy words from scratch!

Please
or
to access all these features

Anotheronetwo · 05/04/2020 10:09

osf.io/tzaeh/

This book is excellent and currently free through the link. Writing can feel awful for everyone so you are not alone.

Please
or
to access all these features

Trou · 05/04/2020 10:10

You could ask tutors for an example of a good essay from last years' students so you get a good one to look at. As PP said, most Unis have specific study skills tutors I think who help with this, a search of the uni website might bring up their email. Agree a lot of it is building up confidence through practice, it takes practice to get back into it after time out - esp. due to the circumstances you mention.

Please
or
to access all these features

Krong · 05/04/2020 10:10

If you are struggling with resources, it's absolutely fine to reach out to your tutor/lecturer for help and advice. They want you to do well and would be happy to point you in the right direction. Do you have a reading list? Why not send them your sources and ask what they think, or if they have any better suggestions.

Please
or
to access all these features

PaulinePetrovaPosey · 05/04/2020 10:11

Second PP that your post is very coherent!

Are you doing an essay plan? I'd start with that, doing as a list of the points that you want to make. Once you have that, read it back and see whether the points are in the most logical order.

Once you're happy with the essay plan you can start to fill it out, by making each point into a paragraph.

Beware of including extra 'filler' detail which isn't needed and will distract from your important points. To avoid this, set it aside for a few hours once you've finished and re-read it, thinking 'does this word/sentence/para need to be here'. If not, delete.

Good luck!

Please
or
to access all these features

lookingformybrain · 05/04/2020 16:34

Thank you all for the very helpful replies.

Its definitely a confidence and time issue. I'm finding it near enough impossible to write let alone study with my 4 year old following me everywhere. I'm doing small 30 minute bursts whilst she occupies herself with the iPad or her toys.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Kuponut · 05/04/2020 16:41

Tip from one of my lecturers that really helped a lot of us (I'm also a mature student so get it) - copy and paste the first sentences of each paragraph into a word document and read it through - it should give you the general outline of how your essay is going to flow.

I tend to do a very rough outline of structure and points I want to make in all the paragraphs and then I stick it in the time out corner for a few days, come back to it, tweak and add - and then keep doing that. It got me through lockdown and schools closing with deadlines looming as I had so much of the bare bones done that it was just fleshing out the skeleton.

I've also tried putting points onto post-it notes and then rearranging them to get an order I like for paragraph structure as well.

It's hard - I've deferred my end of year exams because there's no way I can cope with that plus the kids at home at the moment.

Please
or
to access all these features

lookingformybrain · 06/04/2020 06:58

^^
That's actually quite a helpful tip. I'll definitely try it with essay.

I'm not sure my university will let me defer any exams. Although I'm finding it super difficult to study having to wait on my partner every hour Sad. DD is definitely less demanding than him.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Quarantino · 06/04/2020 08:50

I'm honestly saying this to help, but it's 'a phenomenon'.
I don't know how anyone finishes a sentence when they have a young kid, let alone a coherent essay! Good luck.

Please
or
to access all these features

SlowDown76mph · 06/04/2020 08:52

...is your partner ill?

Please
or
to access all these features

DonPablo · 06/04/2020 08:53

Just write. Honestly, just start and be prepared to edit.

I'd make a plan. Intro. Middle, conclusion.

Then break that middle section down even further. You could then write each section in the bursts you have available.

It'll be the fear and the blank page that you have to overcome. Good luck

Please
or
to access all these features

lookingformybrain · 06/04/2020 10:36

I'm honestly saying this to help, but it's 'a phenomenon

Hey, no problem. Just look at my username Smile

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

lookingformybrain · 06/04/2020 10:36

is your partner ill?

No, he's just lazy. I'm now refusing to do any housework until he starts acting like a grown man.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

lookingformybrain · 06/04/2020 10:39

It'll be the fear and the blank page that you have to overcome. Good luck

Thanks. Its definitely fear that I need to overcome.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Balloonsandbunting · 06/04/2020 10:41

I’m also trying to write a dissertation and look after two young children. I absolutely can’t do it while they’re around. They play quite nicely together, but I never know how long it’s going to last and when someone is going to want yet another thing from me! So I get up at 5am and do it then, when I know i’m not going to be disturbed. It’s hard-going, but is this something you can try? I see you’re trying to do it in 30 minute bursts, and I know that wouldn’t work for me- I need a couple of hours of proper concentration time.

Please
or
to access all these features

Kuponut · 06/04/2020 12:42

University responded really favourably (they're generally fucknuggets where it comes to "getting" mature students' situations) to my application to defer some of my work to make it manageable with the kids at home - although my latest assignment requires me watching and analyzing video clips which is impossible with DD1's endless wittering on!

My process is that I basically open a word document, do the heading and title etc and then just start bunging bullet points down and thoughts randomly and then gradually I start fleshing them out over the course of a week or so and then have one session where I bang out all the flesh onto the bare bones at the end of it all. Means by the time I sit to write "the essay" it's all pretty much done and just needs a tidy up.

I also do my reference list as I go along - the first time I mention something in the text it gets put into my reference list section and then I cut and paste it all into the right order at the end of it all.

Please
or
to access all these features

lookingformybrain · 06/04/2020 18:29

I always fudge up the references list. Good technique you've got there. Will save me an hour or so trying to put all my references in order.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Embracelife · 08/04/2020 23:32

Free book download

www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk/site/chapters/10.16997/book42.g/

Your night should have study skills classes

Please
or
to access all these features

Embracelife · 08/04/2020 23:33

Your uni should have study skills

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.