My First Paragraphs

I want a real new life!

One semester down, and a lot more to go. But at least, I was able to survive my first five months in UP Diliman as what my dietician told me. I wished to write various topics here on my site but I simply can’t find a time. I would sleep late at night sometimes even reaching two in the morning because of some bogglers in my mind. I don’t know what it is but I think it was me getting accustomed to sleeping that time of the night during the last weeks of the semester. I just enjoy myself in revolutionizing Facebook with a chatroom-slash-photo comment boxes-slash-conversation with my high school friends in our class shot posted by one of my classmates. If you’re curious and would want to see it, I think it always appears on my wall and in your homepage as well. The comments there have reached to almost 400! All about our college life and plans for an early reunion. That’s how we miss each other. College is far much different from high school.

The past semester has left me loaded with jobs that I did for the first time. Our Kas 1 (Phil. History) professor has tasked us to write a ‘formal’ research paper – a kind of work that I have never done before. High school academic papers are best for babies seeing its difficulty in my first year in college. I could remember our group scanning every inch of the World Wide Web to look for sources, and in one click it appears in our paper, we call it the ‘copy-paste’ technique. I could even think of doing that HS paper in one day but I didn’t like rushes. Well of course we’re gonna write down our sources but, in a classy style originally made by secondary students. On the white sheet of the MS Word, we type in “Sources” plus a colon, and paste the URL of the website. However long it is, we didn’t care (that’s what the URL says, with those equal signs, several slashes, numbers, and words jumbled together — computer languages, arrgggh). We didn’t because we had a secret ingredient to spice up our works, like the Maggi Magic Sarap on TV. We wrap them up with colorful designs, state-of-the-art papers printed on state-of-the-art printers, and bring out the ‘wow factor’ in our teachers. Mission accomplished.

Until I knew of the MLA style for academic papers as taught by our HS Filipino teacher. To people inclined to artistic papers, they call it a bore.

My first college paper was about the contributions of the Communist Party of the Philippines to the agricultural status of the Philippines. It has to be specific, my professor would say. We stayed awake during the late hours of the night for a week just to finish this paper. Copy-paste style? That’s a big horrible no. We read sources from the internet from top to bottom, scanned old books from the university’s main library, and conduct surveys that we needed to analyse.

We were also governed by a woman named Kate Turabian in the course of our study. Turabian is the well-known author of a guide in writing papers. In her book, a.k.a. the writing bible, contained rules that we strictly followed including margin sizes, footnote formats, spacing, indentation, sections, and many others. We even had to read to whole book added to our list of readings for us to be familiar with the style. She says NO to own graphic designs, NO to border arts, NO to the ever-famous ‘Comic Sans’ font style and other fancy ones, and NO to creative gimmicks to bring color to your work. Truly new to me.

Making a formal and full-fledged research paper isn’t an easy as A-B-C, click-copy-click-paste. I had to stay with my laptop computer aided by the friendly Microsoft Word program for the whole day to write my ‘first’ paragraphs. I had to read a couple of pages and be as assertive as I can to formulate a strong stand and a good conclusion. It’s more about making inferences based on your sources, and working with your mind to arrive at the best words.

As we stepped on our last task, to encode page numbers that in themselves are confusing. Page numbers on ‘main section’ pages of the paper must be placed below, and the rest of the paper’s page numbers to be placed above. Getting boggled? We too did working on it for half an hour.

Hearing the rhythmic sounds of our printer puking out the pages of our paper, I knew I was able to write my first paragraphs, my first phrases, my first words.

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