Ben Clarkson’s guide to the perfect C+ paper

As an alumnus of the University of Manitoba and as a former resident of Tache Hall, I know a little something about under-achievement. The A+ paper is not the ambition of the student who sits pale-faced, terrified, while they looks at the deadline for the next paper on their crumpled syllabus. The ambition of writing an overnight paper is to finish it, for it to make some sense and to get at least three hours of sleep. If these are also your ambitions, then rest assured, these nine easy steps will help you to achieve all of your mediocre goals.

1.) Read the syllabus again. Maybe you’ve misread the due date. It might not be tomorrow.

2.) Pick an argument soon. The most important part of any essay is the thesis. You must choose a thesis as quickly as possible and then argue it blindly. The more time you have with your thesis, the more time you can warm up to it. Once you have a thesis you then decide on seemingly arbitrary statements about it, and regularly refer back to those statements.

3.) Find an essay or paper similar to yours on Google Scholar. I do not support plagiarism. However, I learned in high school that the best way to find sources for your paper is to strip them from other people’s intellectual property. You don’t even have to use the sources, just use them as footnotes, here and there, to make it look like you actually did research. You can even reference that actual paper, in your paper and use it to support your arbitrary thesis.

4.) Find an arbitrary Kurt Vonnegut quote to reference. Professors love Kurt Vonnegut quotes. Like this one “You are who you pretend to be, so be very careful who you pretend to be.” Solid gold.

5.) Reference a book you’ve read in class. You don’t have to have done your reading, just skim and find something relevant. Quote it. Footnote it. Drink a beer.

6.) Pizza run.

7.) Make sweeping, overly confident statements to conclude your arbitrary thesis. Make sure to use unsupported blanket statements and broad generalities. Reiterate the Vonnegut quote if you can.

8.) Make a quick sweep for grammar. Print your essay, unless you have no ink or printer, in which case forget that and just read it on the screen, but it’s easier to focus on a physical copy of your paper when it’s 4 a.m..

9.) Title The most important part of any C+ essay is a catchy title. Try to grab the attention of the professor. Reel them in. I personally used the same title for every paper I ever handed in. “Through the Looking Glass” with an equally catchy subtitle of “A rope of sand.” Then follow it up with a short dry description of your thesis; “an analytical portrait of Oscar Wilde and his poetry during incarceration.” Wonderful!

With these tips in mind, now you can wander into class with your head held high. All doubt in your academic future will be washed away by the genius of your paper. Who needs forethought!? You have these nine easy steps. I personally hold an Honours degree from this fine university, which proves that our education system is either horribly, horribly flawed or that this guide rocks.