PG Blog: Rose Leek #4 Just remind me how do I start an essay?

I have started planning my first CEIGHE assignment!

I decided to put aside a Sunday to get started on my essay planning. With notes and books piled up on one side, tea and snacks on the other, and a cat adamant about sitting directly in front of the computer, I was ready to go.

By the end of the core reading I felt energised by learning new information, and found myself keen to get started on the essay. I wanted to be able to show myself what I had understood from the reading, to see that I could take the information and apply it with my own analysis. Stood at the computer, scribbled notes and books around me (and a cat now sat on the keyboard) doubt set in…. the realisation that I would need to start turning a blank page into, ultimately, 5000 words on career development theories.

Having not written an essay for quite some time, and realising my fingers were not going to just start typing away, I decided it would be helpful to see what resources were accessible to me as a distance student that could aid me in putting words on the page.

Although it can be harder when you’re not on campus, as you can’t ask for help in person, it is possible to access useful information online, and, to gain helpful guidance via email. Yes, there are a large range of workshops catered for on campus students, and it is a shame I am not local to attend these. However, there are lots of guides and interactive study skills resources via the student VLE, particularly the resources and links provided by CLL (covering topics such as assignments and academic writing, and brainstorming a writing task).

Rather than rushing straight into writing, some of these resources have helped me to work out how to start structuring my notes into a plan that makes some sort of sense. I have also found that the course tutor has been excellent in providing quick and clear email responses when contacted.

This has been a really good lesson about reaching out to staff for guidance, and in utilising information provided for these situations. Rather than throwing myself into the essay and getting in a mess, slowing down, and taking the time to ask for help and look for guidance has put my mind in a clearer space to be starting from.

About the author

Rose LeekRose Leek is a paid blogger for CLL.

I relocated back near my hometown last year in Surrey, after a decade living near the sea in East Kent. I work in a University Employability & Careers Centre, assisting engineering and science students onto a placement year as part of their degree, and providing administrative support to their academic tutors.

I started the Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education (CEIGHE) in October 2017 and am looking forward to developing a wider awareness of the service I work within, and increasing my confidence and understanding.

I have experienced a year with lots of change, and it is both exciting and daunting to be adding studying back into my life. I have never written a blog and my reasoning for doing so is the hope that it will help me to better reflect on, and share, my experience as a CEIGHE student. My course is mainly distance taught, with a few residential workshops per year. I wanted to also try to share the perspective of being a distance student, and how I will (hopefully!) learn to juggle the balance of study, work and home.

I look forward to the journey ahead!

And if all else fails, maybe the cat can do some of my studying for me?

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