Luckily Library Science (much like my undergrad, English) does not involve that many written tests. I will take writing a 10-page paper over taking a 2-page test any day! But if you are not in love with writing papers like me, this fact may freak you out. To that I would say: “Never you fret Lil’ Missy (or Mister)” most professors will provide you with some sort of writing guideline. You can always tell when the first assignment is approaching because just when the professor wants you to start thinking about that first paper, s/he will have you read some article about writing that has nothing to do with the rest of the homework. This week I have read “How to Write Less Badly” and “What is a problem statement.” Both were awkwardly squeezed in the reading so I know I have two papers coming up and should start writing because they will probably be due the same week. Listen, I have a certain level of “coolness” to maintain and I can’t miss a week’s worth of socializing because of procrastination. (Clearly, the previous sentence was a joke; there is no level of “coolness” here.)
While many have their own style of writing and working on a paper, one habit I wish I learned earlier in my undergrad was going to the professor, even if you only have an outline of the paper (unless you are showing up with an outline the day of, that’s just awful!) Now, I am by no means perfect and on time with writing papers, once in my undergrad I started a 5-page paper at 10:30am for my 11:30am class, and not only did I finish said paper AND show up on time but I rocked an “A-“ on that bad Larry. I mean that was a special circumstance, I was a Senior English Major in a Freshman Health Care class, but that is still impressive. Back to my point of taking a paper to the professor; it is best to do this on your first paper because it is through this meeting that you find out what the professor is looking for and also ensures that you don’t get the dreaded “you missed the assignment” note right above that disappointing grade.
Going to the professor beforehand also makes you look like an over-achiever and if you do miss the point after the meeting they might let you re-write. Believe it or not, professors are there because they care about your learning and junk… Also it is important to build relationships with your professors because they most likely know important people. GSLIS faculty sit on a wide variety of panels and committees and the relationship you build from asking them advice on a paper could get you an amazing job in a few years.