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Chapter 21. Cramming for Exams and Other... > Do Your Homework! - Pg. 228

Cramming for Exams and Other Fine Academic Traditions 228 If you have difficulty accepting any of those realities, don't just take my word for it. Contact the schools you're considering attending and ask whether they can put you in touch with any current students around your age or any who have life circumstances in common with you (such as working full-time or being a parent). Talk to the students about the pros and cons of being a returning student. You might learn that, even though it's a struggle, being back in school gives them a sense of ac- complishment and career opportunities that they never could have had without further education. Do Your Homework! When I was in the eighth grade, my English teacher, Mr. Morrell, required us to turn in a theme every Monday. The theme was a written report, three to five pages long, with the requisite introductory paragraph, thesis statement, and four or so supporting points. How did I spend every Sunday night of the eighth grade? Writing those damnable themes, of course. Now that I've written six books, I appreciate the fact that he taught us the foundations of coherent writing and instilled the discipline required to meet frequent, regular deadlines. But at the time, all I could think about was the million or so other ways I could have been spending my weekends. Of course, it wasn't Mr. Morrell's fault that my Sundays were wrecked. It was my own fault. I had all week to get each theme written, but I always put it off until the last minute. I hadn't learned the value of planning ahead. The fact that I was able to write a fairly decent report in a short period of time meant that I could get away with a last-minute approach. That bad habit, and the knowledge that I could come through in the final moments, came back to haunt me in college, where the workload was heavier and the papers much longer. You're Not Alone