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App Spotlight! Focusmate

June 16, 2022

Introducing……”App Spotlights!” In our new series, our writing and learning coaches share some of their favorite websites and applications! Today Writing Coach Sherah reviews Focusmate.

A Blog about Blogging

May 12, 2022

I started blogging in my twenties when I moved across the globe, was desperately lonely and terrified, stressed and elated and thriving and stagnating all at once. I wrote to remember what was happening to me. I wrote to imbue my little life with meaning.

Puzzles and Blank Screens

April 21, 2022

The clock was ticking. I had gone home for Winter Break, and my sister had given me a Christmas present, a jigsaw puzzle intended to hang in my admittedly bare apartment. It was a great idea in theory, but now I felt as though I had a task to complete before returning to my apartment.

How I Made My Life Easier By Using A Synthesis Matrix

March 24, 2022

How I Made My Life Easier By Using A Synthesis Matrix: I’ve always enjoyed writing and thought myself quite good at it before getting to college. Of course, a lot of the writing you do then is for English class, reading one book and writing about it; you still have to work at figuring out your focus and how to support it, but the “research” aspect is limited. Stepping outside of a traditional English paper is another step, one that I was hit with when I first started college and had to write for other subjects.

The Secret(s) to Getting Through Long Papers

February 24, 2022

It’s the beginning of the semester—meaning, as a graduate student, it’s time for me to get back into the groove of planning and writing long papers. For me, the hardest part of approaching a paper is coming up with a topic that will stay interesting to me throughout the research and writing process. A good example of this is from the end of last semester, when I found myself dreading the final paper for my archives class. We covered so many interesting topics in the class, it was hard to decide which one to choose.

Mise en Place: What Does Cooking Have to Do with Writing Anyway? 

February 3, 2022

Mise en Place: What Does Cooking Have to Do with Writing Anyway? Like lots of people, during the height of the pandemic, I got more interested in cooking. One of the things I learned about was mise en place – basically all the prep work before you start cooking.

Mono-Tasking is My New Multi-Tasking

November 23, 2021

There are days when it feels easy to put into words my ideas on the political landscape of Tudor England and its relation to architecture. However, there are also days when I cannot write a sentence that makes any sense at all as hard as I try. Over the years in graduate school, I have tried many different techniques, tricks, and tips for staying focused and motivated while writing. Some have worked, and others have not, but I have realized how easy it is to be distracted while writing.

Tools I Used Writing My Honors Thesis: My TikZ-induced Procrastination and How I Overcame It

October 28, 2021

When I decided to write an honors thesis, the advice I received from everyone was to write things up as you go. The common wisdom was to write things up as soon as you have a result, rather than waiting five months and writing everything up at the last minute. I wanted to do an honors thesis to explore more math, but unfortunately for me, the thesis also required a lot of writing. Having heard the thesis writing horror stories and knowing the extent to which I hate writing (ironic that I’m writing this post, I know), I was determined to follow their advice to try and minimize the pain of the writing experience.

My Journey to Finding My Voice

April 21, 2021

I remember reading my professor’s comments on a paper I’d written in one of my first graduate seminars at Carolina. The paper excited me because it was a topic that interested me, and I believed that my excitement would also factor into producing a well-written, deeply riveting original argument. I was wrong. When I read my professor’s comments, which were few, the words that stood out most were on the last page. Scribbled around some other notes that mentioned the promise of my idea, the professor had written, “This is almost unintelligible.” Reading this comment took a heavy toll on me even though I thought I could shake off the unhelpful criticism.

Searching the Library Online

April 7, 2021

Starting a new research project still has the power to intimidate me, even as a graduate student. With so much information available at my fingertips, how can I narrow down my results to find the resources I need?