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Classic figures (or "archetypes") from society are an excellent tool to use in the development of a thesis statement and the opening paragraph (or second paragraph) of a paper. The use of a historical, literary, or social "archetype" can provide the writer with a reference that supports and endorses the main idea (thesis), and may serve to enhance the significance of the paper/essay. This can work in virtually any subject or class. I've taught that literature supports this by using stories that have been repeated again and again: human nature is such that we do not tend to learn our social lessons very easily, and therefore have to repeat them. The following list should offer anyone who needs to write a paper/essay a vast opportunity of ideas from which to consider an appropriate example of an archetype: Fairy tales; Myths; Legends; Superstitions; Heroes and villains; Sports figures and their records; Romantic stories; Tragedies and comedies; Movie... read more

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" is the first line of a famous and often-quoted speech by Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. From my view as a college instructor and sales and marketing rep...some students would rather glue themselves and their chair to the floor before they would come up to the front of the class to speak about an assignment, let alone try public speaking. Well, they're not alone (I felt that way MANY times in high school). However, this is an important part of college--and life: SOMEONE wants to hear what you think and know--and speaking in public about it can be one of the most empowering things you can do (without the chair glued to you). I know: I used to have raging stage fright--I was just terrified of speaking in front of a crowd, let alone the classroom. Naturally, this doesn't go over well with anyone who has plans to be a teacher! The good news (yes, that's right) is that many colleges and... read more

What's on your mind to develop an idea for that assignment? "Who, What, When, Where, and How." These are the basics for writing school papers--and they work very easily in planning a thesis too. They are the backbone of good journalism too. They help students prepare notes for public speaking, they are useful for research, and they keep you focused. "Who" is anyone relevant to your subject or idea. If you need citations, the better individuals in a paper or assignment are ones who are experts or noted in the field that you're discussing. Credentials count here, both in a job title as well as academic pedigree (Ph.D. or M.A. as possible. You can also show where they work; a quality source can be referenced by an academic or other professional organizational connection.) The "Who" of your assignment or paper shows the significance of someone who comments or validates ideas that are connected with your thesis and the subject of your paper. "What"... read more

I learned this in college: use shortcuts in gathering notes during class. If I knew my instructor would say key phrases or words, I would use abbreviations accordingly, but be sure I knew what they meant by making a code system in the margin or on top of the note paper. I also used symbols to replace words: an = sign meant "as a result" or some other form of cause-and-effect idea. An upward arrow showed an increase or gain, a downward arrow showed the opposite. I gained time in keeping up with notes this way. After class (this is CRUCIAL): I typed up my notes. This gave me several advantages: I had the material reviewed once again in my memory, so I could "re-learn" it again. It gave me a study guide just before an exam that was legible, easy to follow, and also helpful for group learning. It gave me something to review when I needed it: no more sloppy handwriting to try and understand. It took time, but it raised my GPA from a 2.5 to a 3.75.

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