Coon 1 Ben Coon Professor Ingram ENGL 1101 9/8/13 Title In High School I was friends with some of the

people in the grade above me. During the course of the year they would tell me about what to expect the next year. They would tell me about how the history teacher is awesome but the religion teacher is crazy. We would talk about what they were doing for winterim, which is what we called senior exit, and all the papers and interviews they had to do for that. One of the things that we talked about that struck fear in all of the juniors was the research paper we had to do in English class. My friends talked it up to be the worst thing they had ever encountered. “It’s ten pages long!” “You have to have 3 resources per page.” “You have to cite everything you write.” I never took this seriously and completely forgot about it over summer. Lo and behold the time came for my class to start this paper. Our English teacher, Mr. Isaac, brought it up slowly over time making references to it calling it “The Research Paper” We all knew it was coming. Before winter break Mr. Isaac told us to start thinking of topics. Explaining that the point of the paper would be to argue for or against anything that could be argued. He said we could compare Gandalf and Dumbledore, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, it could be literally anything. The only catch was that we would have to back up every statement we made with research from a credible source. Immediately a light murmur started in the class room from people starting to brainstorm topics. I could feel the excitement of my classmates fill the room. Just as soon as it started it ended when everyone realized the amount of time this was

Coon 2 going to take. I heard people say in disbelief “We’re going to have to cite everything?” “Yes, everything.” It went on like this until the end of class. After class everyone forgot about it and went on their breaks without worrying about this paper. Once back in class and after no thought on topics on my part Mr. Isaac hands out the official assignment. I just look at it. I had no idea what I was going to write about. I was supposed to be thinking about this over break. What was I doing? Why didn’t I spend any time on this? I talked to my friends, asking them what they were writing about. It seemed like they all knew what they were doing. They’d all say something along the lines of “I’m arguing that Ford’s trucks are better than Chevy’s.” After thinking about it for a while I realized I could write about the autobahn. For a while I had been interested in it and this was my chance to research it. I decide to write about how the autobahn is better than the US highway system. Finally knowing what I was going to write was a relief. Now I just had to write it. For this assignment we had four different due dates. We had to write three three page essays focusing on one argument for out topic and a final copy with all of them combined. This made me write it three pages at a time. In previous assignments I had written the entire paper only a few days prior to the due date. These were always adequate but never any good. I had always wanted to take my time with a paper but had always procrastinated. This was my chance to actually write a descent paper. One that not only got me a good grade but one that I was satisfied with. I set to work on the first section of the paper, focusing on how the autobahn gets people to their destinations faster. I decided to start during my study hall one day so I went to the library and sat at a bank of computers facing the entrance with windows behind me. Another student in my study hall sat with me and we both began on out papers. We bounced ideas off each other about our papers and asking for advice on whether a sentence should be included or how to

Coon 3 phrase what we wanted to say. He helped me out tremendously, giving me feedback as soon as I wrote something. This was the first time I had really had someone else look over my paper before turning it in. I had never done this before because I thought it too time consuming with too little to come of it. Having my friend’s feedback completely changed my view of critique. I had written a paper that was better than anything else I had ever written and it was because I had help that I had never had before. I turned in the paper and got it back. The teacher didn’t write much because he was only concerned with grammar. When I got started on the second section I made sure I was with Trey, who helped with the first one. We sat at our usual spot in the library facing the door with the windows behind us. We could hear the occasional truck pass on the highway on the other side of the window but this did not distract us. We were determined. He too had done very well on his paper and was eager to start the next part. Both of us finished our paper just like we had the first. We did this again for the remaining part of the paper. When the time came to combine all of the parts into the final draft all of them just fell into place. It was as if they were all written at the same time. I had to write transition paragraphs and add a conclusion and introduction but that was the easy part. The bulk of it was already done. It seemed like I barely lifted my finger to write this paper. I then realized that I had been working on it for two months. I had never paced out a paper like this. It was always written the night before it was due. I was also written under a lot of stress. I always put down anything I could think of just to fill space on the page. I finished this paper with many days to spare just because I had to spread it out. I could not believe how much of an affect it had on my writing. Because I did not have to have it done the next day, whenever I wrote I took my time and only put down things that I thought necessary. I would get

Coon 4 Trey to look at it, then revise it. It was as simple as that. I had thought that writing a paper like this would be a waste of time. It ended up being the best paper I had ever written. After writing this paper I completely changed as a writer. I went from panicked last minute writing fueled by stress to leisurely writing over many days. I went from no feedback at all to making sure at least one person had reviewed my paper before turning it in. I believe I have always had the potential to write a good paper. I just never had the willpower to try and write a good paper. I never knew what would have come of it. Now I do.