A group of people sit around in a table having a meeting.

June 27, 2024, by UoN School of English

How do I work on my essay?

“Okay settle down everyone, I have an announcement to make! The assessments are now approaching. And the thought of essays is starting to haunt us,” Observer Yasmin declared as she sat at the big round table with all the other Yasmins. Yes, there was nothing else in the room except for that round table and multiple Yasmins that played different roles in this organization called The Brain.

The slot in front of Observer Yasmin popped a piece of paper, like a toaster, up with a ding. She took it out and began to read it.

“Okay, let’s see how much coursework we have—Oh god…” Observer Yasmin’s brows narrowed.

“What? What is it?” one of the Yasmins asked.

She gulped. “It says here that we have three essays to write for three different modules, and they each require 3000 words.”

The members at the table gasped and talked amongst themselves.

“Oh my god, that’s too much for us!”

“Three 3000-word essays?! That’s about 9000 words in total!”

“That’s going to be a lot of work.”

“Wait when are the deadlines?” that question somehow silenced the cacophony in the room. The members turned their gaze to the observer.

The slot popped another paper. The observer took it and scanned it.

“Two of the essays are on the 16th and the other is on the 13th,” she answered.

“How are we supposed to write all of this in time?! We’ve never done that before!” the members resumed their panic. Their voices overlapped with one another.

“Silence!” a voice boomed at the table with a smack. The members, again, fell quiet immediately and looked at the one who did it. It was Planner Yasmin who did it. She froze a bit when their eyes landed on her. She quickly cleared her throat before she spoke.

“Look, let’s all just calm down and take it easy. First of all, the deadlines are months away, specifically five months, so we still have time. Second, ‘We’ve never done that before’? Did you guys forget that we did that before? In the Foundation Year for Extended Project module? Remember?” Planner Yasmin said.

“Yeah, b-but this is different! We’ve never written three 3000-word essays IN A ROW!” one of them cried.

“And does that mean we’re just going to sit here and panic all day? No! We’ll find a way through this and we’re going to do it!” Planner Yasmin smacked the table again. Yet she shook her hand from the slight pain it caused.

“What do you suggest we do?”

“The thing we always do when it comes to important stuff, we plan. Or as my title implies, I plan.” Planner Yasmin stood up from her seat and took out a small remote from her pocket.

She stepped aside as she pressed a button and a large screen lit up in front of the table. It showcased a blank red rectangle standing vertically on the side of the screen.

“Now, let’s not think that this is impossible to achieve just by focusing on the bigger picture. What we should do is calm down and think slowly.” She pulled out a stick and pointed it at the red rectangle.

“Let’s start with… The Victorian Literature essay as an example of how to tackle such coursework,” she began.

“Because of the big word count, we easily feel overwhelmed every time we see that number. And when we do, we tend to give the reins to ADHD Yasmin and all she’ll do is push the essays aside because ‘it’s too much so let’s think about it later’. We don’t want that, especially now that we have three big essays.

“What we should do instead is take this essay and break it into smaller chunks. We could do that by dividing the word count by the number of sections we could write. For instance, 3000 divided by five will equal 600 words for each section.” The big red rectangle broke into five smaller orange squares.

“Now that there are sections, we’ll use the Sandwich technique when it comes to structuring the essay. We’ll make the section at the top our Introduction and the bottom section our Conclusion; these two are going to be our bread.” The top and bottom sections turned yellow.

“As for the sections in the middle, they’re going to be the main body texts for our essay. In other words, they’re going to be the fillings of our sandwich.” The middle sections turned into different colours from green to purple, painting the image of a sandwich in colourful squares.

“So, the essay is now easier to manage with this technique. Any questions?” Planner Yasmin looked at the members after giving a demonstration on the screen.

One of them raised a hand.


“It sounds manageable, but I feel like 600 words is still a big number to achieve. Can we narrow it down further?”

“If it’s still too much to write, sure, why not? Let’s see.” The planner took out a calculator and pressed the numbers. “Well, we could divide 600 by three, and we’ll have to write 200 words in one section. And if it still feels like too much, we could narrow it to a 100. But that’s the furthest we could go. Any other questions?”

Silence filled the room for a moment. Another raised her hand and the planner gestured for her to proceed.

“This sounds like a solid plan to take things easy. But do you have any idea on what topic we should write about in the essay?”

The planner remained silent then spoke. “Well… I might be the planner in this organisation, but I’m no idea creator here. It’s Idea Creator Yasmin’s job to do all of that. I only plan.” She pointed at Idea Creator Yasmin, who raised her hand mid-air but froze in place when she got pointed at.

“Um… Thank you, I guess.” The idea creator stood up and cleared her throat. “Okay, so, uh… I have an idea on what to write, but we need to ask the tutors just in case it’s not a valid idea. Secretary Yasmin, could you book an appointment for office hours with MG on Wednesday? Thank you.” She cleared her throat again and began.

“So, for the Victorian Literature essay, we must think about what the module is about and what is expected from us. So far, we learned about Victorian and Edwardian authors and how they used their stories to convey their opinions, and whether they reinforced or challenged certain viewpoints during the Victorian Era. Technically, we could write a comparison essay evaluating two Victorian authors or novels.

“The bread parts of the essay are easy to tackle, but the fillings are not, so we should be concentrating more on those. There are three sections, right? We can take the first section and let it be about Charles Dickens and his novel Great Expectations (1861), meanwhile the second section will be about H. G. Wells and his novel War Of the Worlds (1898). The third and final section then should compare the two authors and their novels together.

“What do you think of this idea?” the Idea Creator asked.

The members looked at one another as they murmured. They looked back at her with a nod.

“Alright, it seems like we are getting somewhere and have an idea on what to do. We just need to consider a few more things before we confirm our strategy,” Commander Yasmin said and looked at the side of the table.

“Manager Yasmin, do you have any methods we could use to write this essay and the others?” Commander Yasmin asked.

“As a matter of fact, I do,” Manager Yasmin drew a confident smile. “Based on our previous visit to Time Management workshop done by the Learning Well team— a module that is available on Moodle page—we learned that we could dedicate a month or two to each essay. Now, we all know that a month has four weeks. So, we can take this information and use it to our advantage.

“We could dedicate the first week to looking for secondary sources and doing some research. The second week we’ll focus on reading both the secondary materials and the primary texts. The third week is when we finally start writing the essay; if we think about it, we could write these five sections in five days. Basically, we’ll be writing from Monday to Friday while Saturday and Sunday will be our day off’s.

“The fourth and final week is when we proofread, double check for any errors, and format our essay before we submit it. Or wait until the submissions open and then send it. If we repeat the same process for the other two essays, then hopefully we’ll be free of academic work.” Manager Yasmin then folded her arms and made another nod of confidence.

The members spoke in agreement and astonishment with one another.

“Now that’s great management!” Commander Yasmin applauded. “Okay, I think I know what we should do next. Secretary Yasmin, please note down the following so we can talk about them during office hours: what is the minimum number of references for our essay, is it alright if we use personal pronouns, and do scholarly editions of the primary texts count as a secondary material?”

“On it,” Secretary Yasmin said as she typed on her typewriter.

“Thank you. Oh, and one final thing, are we able to follow and fulfill this plan?” Commander Yasmin asked.

Planner Yasmin looked at the corner of the room where a long glass cylinder stood. There were some lines and numbers imprinted onto that cylinder, like one of those laboratory glass tubes or cups. A bright purple liquid was reaching halfway up. It has the label Motivation Level screwed on the wall next to it.

“Well… As long as our Motivation level is high, we can certainly do it.” Planner Yasmin let out a nervous laugh.

“Alright then, it seems we all agree with this strategy?”

The members nodded in unison.

“Good, I’ll now confirm this and send it to the Commitment Department.” Commander Yasmin typed on her typewriter.

“Wait a minute…” one of the members said. “I feel like we’re missing something.”

The members looked around at the table.

“Um, guys? Where’s ADHD Yasmin—”

A foreign yet recognizable voice filled the room from the speakers.

“Hello everybody my name’s Markiplier and welcome back to Resident Evil 7…”

“NOO! WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR YOUTUBE!” Everyone at the table screamed and the Motivation level decreased and turned red.

— Yasmeen Al-Qallaf, 2nd Year BA English Language and Literature

Image credits: Jason Goodman on Unsplash

Posted in Student Words