The majority of professors now-a-days have their students electronically turn their papers and essays in. So, instead of the turning in 5 pages of actual paper, college students never actually print their essays, but instead just turn them in through email. The reason teachers do this is because it is much easier to check for plagiarism when they have a digital file. (If your teacher makes you upload the paper through blackboard then the paper will automatically be plagiarism checked.) Also, I imagine papers are easier to organize and keep track off when turned in digitally.
However, even though this online system of turning in papers seem efficient and flawless, it is not. At least not for your professor. That is because it is easy for students to turn papers in late this way. I am strongly against procrastinating and do not think that turning your paper in late is good for you (as you will get behind in work) or for the professor (because you are giving them extra work.) However, sometimes there are third factors that may stop you from being able to finish your paper on time and this can be a very useful trick.
I figured out this “hack” on accident last term when I turned my paper in on time and finished, but it was in a format that for whatever reason my teacher’s computer could not open. He emailed me four days after I had turned it in asking me to save it as a different file type. I realized that my original essay could have just said “poop” and he would have thought it was a full essay and then I would have had another four days to do the actual assignment.
The problem though, is that you could not do this to all teachers because you have no idea which files they can and cannot open. I found a solution when a friend of mine shared this little gem on Facebook. This basically shows you a way to make the file you send to your teacher have a message saying “There was a problem with this file’s contents.” The way you do this is by making a word document, opening it in notepad, deleting some of the coding, and then save the word file. This will make the word document unreadable, so when you send it to your teacher it will show that message making it appear to be a weird computer mistake. Your teacher will then ask you to send it again, you apologize for the inconvenience, and “try to resend it,” but actually give him your now finished essay.
If you do not have Microsoft word you could do something similar by perhaps “accidentally” sending in an essay for a different class or a file of your rough draft only containing your thesis and quotes or something.
If your paper is physically due in class, I have also seen students claim that their printer was being faulty, and ask if they can just email their paper right after class. That could also be a way to turn an essay in late, but would only work with a cool teacher who accepts excuses.
Again, you should only do this in emergencies because it creates a burden for your teacher, and may get you in bad procrastinating habits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan James Ivey is a sophomore at the two year school of Sierra College located in the beautiful foothills of California. His plans are to transfer to the University of California, Davis as an international relations major and perhaps double major or minor in economics. In High School he enjoyed making yearbooks and short films in his Multi Media class. Logan's other interests include rivers, the Internet, becoming strong and listening to hip hop music. You can learn more about this amazing boy by following him on Twitter or Google +.
If those trips down to the demos in Westminster have left you behind schedule for your end-of-term assignment, you may well be forced to write in the small hours this week. Here's how to pull it off safely and successfully.
12am: Get as far away from your bed as possible
Before you begin, avoid warmth and soft furnishings. Propped up on pillows in the glow of a laptop may feel like savvy ergonomics, but your keyboard will start to look pillow-like by midnight, and 418 pages of the word "gf64444444444444444444" will detract from the force of your argument. You could try the kitchen. Or Krakow. But your industrially lit 24-hour campus library should do the trick.
12:25am: Take a catnap
Thomas Edison used to catnap through the night with a steel ball in his hand. As he relaxed and the ball dropped, he would wake up, usually with fresh ideas. "Caffeine and a short nap make a very effective combination," says Jim Horne, director of the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre. "Have the coffee first. This takes about 20 minutes to work, so take a 15-minute nap. Use an alarm to wake up and avoid deep sleep kicking in. Do this twice throughout the night."
12.56am: Reduce your internet options
Temporarily block Twitter, Spotify, Group Hug, YouTube, 4od and anything else that distracts you. Constantly updating your word count on Facebook may feel like fun, but to everyone else you'll look like you're constantly updating your word count on Facebook.
1-3am: Now write your essay. No, really
You've widened your margins, subtly enlarged your font and filled your bibliography with references of such profound obscurity that no one will notice you're missing 3,000 words. It's time to brainstorm, outline, carve words, followed by more words, into that milk-white oblivion that taunts you. Speed-read articles. Key-word Google Books. Remember texts you love and draw comparisons. Reword. Expound. Invent. Neologise. Get excited. Find a problem you can relish and keep writing. While others flit from point to point, your impassioned and meticulous analysis of a single contention is music to a marker's eyes.
3-5am: Get lost in your analysis, your characters, your world Write like you're trying to convince the most stubborn grammarian about truth, or heartless alien invaders about love. Don't overload with examples – be creative with the ones you have. Detail will save your life, but don't waste time perfecting sentences – get the bulk down first and clean up later. "The progress of any writer," said Ted Hughes, "is marked by those moments when he manages to outwit his own inner police system." Outwit your own inner police system. Expect progress. Ted says so.
5:01am: Don't cheat
It's about now that websites such as easyessay.co.uk will start to look tempting. And you may sleep easier knowing that a dubiously accredited Italian yoga instructor is writing about Joyce instead of you. But the guilt will keep you up between now and results day. And you'll toss and turn the night before graduation, job interviews, promotions, dinner parties, children's birthdays, family funerals . . . you get the idea.
5.17am: Don't die
Sounds obvious, but dying at your computer is definitely trending. And however uncool it may seem to "pass on" during a five-day stint at World of Warcraft, it will be much more embarrassing to die explaining perspectivism to no one in particular. So be careful. Stay hydrated. Blink occasionally. And keep writing.
5.45am: Eat something simple
"There are no foods that are particularly good at promoting alertness," says Horne. "But avoid heavy and fatty meals in the small hours. Avoid very sugary drinks that don't contain caffeine, too. Sugar is not very effective in combating sleepiness." Fun fact: an apple provides you with more energy than a cup of coffee. Now stick the kettle on.
5.46am: Delight in being a piece of living research
If you happen to be "fatigue resistant" you should now be enjoying the enhanced concentration, creative upwelling and euphoric oneness that sleep deprivation can bring. If not, try talking yourself into it. "Conversation keeps you awake," says Horne. "So talk to a friend or even to yourself – no one will hear you."
6am: Console yourself with lists of writers who stuck it out
Robert Frost was acquainted with the night. Dumas, Kafka, Dickens, Coleridge, Sartre, Poe and Breton night-walked and trance-wrote their way to literary distinction. John and Paul wrote A Hard Day's Night in the small hours. Herman the Recluse, atoning for broken monastic vows, is said to have written the Codex Gigas on 320 sheets of calfskin during a single night in 1229. True, he'd sold his soul to the Devil, but you're missing out on a live Twitter feed, so it's swings and roundabouts.
7am: Remember – art is never finished, only abandoned
Once you accept there's no more you can do, print it off and get to the submissions office quick. Horne: "You're not fit to drive if you've had less than five hours sleep, so don't risk it. Grab some exercise." Pop it in with the breeziness that comes from being top of your marker's pile. Back home, unblock Facebook and start buffering The Inbetweeners. And then sleep. Get as near to your bed as you can. Euphoric oneness doesn't come close.
Matt Shoard teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.