The 13 Steps to Writing an Essay in Your Second Language


Writing essays in college is difficult. Do.

Writing essays in your second language is more difficult. Double fact.

With nothing but a vague question title and dodgy Google translations to help decode technical academic language, international students truly deserve a medal for getting through the ordeal.

If you are currently writing an essay, a) RETURN TO WORK; and b) failing that, at least find some solace in these relatable memes about the many (many, many) stages you go through in putting together this magnum opus…

1) Find out your deadline at the beginning of the term and plan your work schedule optimistically

So you have your deadline and you know how much work you have to do. You’ve reasonably set aside a week for basic reading and comprehension, another week for brainstorming and planning, and a final week for writing and editing.

It’s going to go so well. So what…

2) You forget about the trial until that day on the calendar arrives. Panic.

Wait, but your deadline wasn’t until the end of the term? ! It shouldn’t be three weeks from now! You haven’t even had all your seminars, much less had time to understand them. Oh. My. God.

So you…

3) Message the group chat to make sure no one else has started yet

If your course friends are for anything, they’re there to make you feel less guilty about your bad work habits. You know what they say…”friends that fail together, stay together”…so while they may not understand your struggle as an international student, at least they don’t have a length of advance.

4) Suppress all thoughts of deadlines and stress until further notice

Although you promised to give yourself more time this time around, now that it’s time to start reading about quantum physics in your second language, you’ve realized you’re just not ready to cope. to that.

A word of advice: do it, don’t think about it too much!

5) Acknowledge that you only have one week left to complete the trial. Panic more intensely.

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Oh man. It’s time to haul the ass to the library for an intense adult. No more fat mornings at noon. No more watching Netflix until morning. It’s time to hit the books (with the help of Google Translate of course).

6) Prepare to live in the library for the next 168 hours until your week from hell is over

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You better watch this essay like Edward watched Bella and get ready for a caffeine and adrenaline fueled writing marathon.

7) Spend 3 hours trying to figure out complicated words that even Google doesn’t know

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Not only are you trying to complete difficult missions, but you don’t even speak the language as a native speaker. While your classmates complain that they don’t understand the reading, you struggle to grasp the language it’s written in. Awesome.

8) Give up, go home, eat your weight in food and sleep the rest of the day

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You promised not to do this, but it’s too much.

Every word gives you a headache and you can’t stop dreaming about your leftovers in the fridge at home. at least you has tried go to the library today. Tomorrow will be better, you tell yourself, accepting defeat. Now…back to bed.

9) Wake up from said nap, realize you haven’t done anything. Then spend all night trying to rectify that.

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Time passes slowly and the words still don’t make sense. How long until this confusing mess is over? It’s actually the middle of the day at home… so actually, it might be the best time to study, right?

10) You finally crash at 7am and accidentally sleep until noon


11) Enough BS. This is the critical moment.

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You pull yourself together and tell yourself it’s now or never. You have a few days left to engage your brain and do what you need to do.

With a composed mind, you roll up your sleeves, get your thinking cap on, and type like you’ve never typed before. Now is the time to tackle all those theories that you at first thought were beyond your comprehension and pass this essay.

And suddenly, as you continue down this rabbit hole, the last vestiges of apprehension disappear. You can do it, you really can!

12) And then comes self-doubt

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So you’ve finished the essay and now it’s time to read it again. It usually inspires an internal monologue of: is this genius? Is it stupid? Who knows, but it’s done. As you reread your work for the hundredth time, you can no longer tell whether what you have written is an absurd rambling or an intellectual masterpiece.

You’d like to believe it’s the last, but you’re biased.

13) Submit the final project online

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It was great ? It was horrible ? You can’t say for sure. For now, you want to celebrate. You have crossed the finish line and submitted the essay.

And now when you think back to the process, it was a really rewarding experience.

You came away quite confident that you had learned something about your subject and even managed to overcome the language difficulties.

It’s party time!

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