My essentials for writing a paper: computer, notes, and tea (in my Edinburgh Dungeon mug).
One of the wonderful things about sending your ideas to conferences to see if you get to present them is that they usually want an abstract or a proposal and not the entire paper. This, of course, means that it’s really easy to write an abstract about an idea that hasn’t been turned into a paper. For me, that meant focusing on an aspect of an earlier paper, but not having a full paper written about it.
Then I found out I was accepted, and that was, for me, when I was excited, terrified, and panicked. After all, it’s awesome that I get to present at a conference as an undergraduate. On the other hand, I have to speak to strangers, hope the things I say make sense, and actually write the paper.
This occurred last week, so I’ve had plenty of time to relax and simply get to work. It’s not super easy to do on top of my end of the semester work, but so far, it’s been nothing but rewarding. I have a draft done and I’ve settled into excitement about the conference. The two other people from the school going are presenting at different times than I am, so I can watch them present and Dr. Wronski, who has been instrumental in getting us into the conference, can see all three of us.
I know the nerves and panic will kick in at some point, but I’m ready for them, and I know that just means I’m doing something daring, something that requires some courage. To me, that alone is worth it.
For now, I’m going to focus on writing the paper in a way that won’t sound weird when spoken aloud, which means I don’t have to worry about punctuation, not using contractions, and sounding strictly academic. That in itself is a gift. All I can do is take this one step at a time and keep requesting feedback from a professor who is being more helpful than I ever could have expected from anyone.
One of the best things about this conference is that it’s the only thing I’ve done for college that has been within an hour and a half of my house, and I am so happy my family has the opportunity to see and hear something I’ve done in the last year. I’m almost positive they haven’t read Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Legend of Good Women and might not understand half the paper or more, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that they can support me and I have the knowledge that they believe in me.
That in itself eases some of my stress.