Q: I’m currently writing an essay and I don’t know where to start. What should I do? -Anonymous
Always start at JSTOR. Plebeians begin their adventure in the shallow waters of Wikipedia with their Abercrombie-esque inflatable tubes, wading through mounds of circumlocutious jargon written by an adjunct professor desperate to get work out somewhere. News flash: “The Breakfast Club” is a fictitious construct made of keratin; the real line is, “No, I am your father” and anything inspired by the contents of a Wikipedia page is about as lively as a sad chicken wrapped in a shower loofa. You have come to UCSD with a premeditated agenda, whether that is the enforcement of a careless appropriation of Kumeyaay land to get a degree in STEM (only to be struck with a sudden epiphany or perhaps tough it out and stick with becoming an acclaimed physician) or say you attend a school right next to the beach with a music festival as acclaimed as Coachella. If such is the case, you should also be aware of the many resources UCSD offers: databases, librarians and the faculty at this school.
Perhaps you’ve carelessly glazed over the list of items in your UCSD goody-bag when you hastily signed your intent to register at UCSD and avoided the run-down of tools that you’re paying for. No, you’re not just paying for the sustenance of Price Center, student organizations and RIMAC; you’re also paying for well-coveted access to an extensive list of databases. Normally, you’d be wading in bills for an academic article that discusses Gangnam Style’s aesthetic cinematography, but as a student, you’re covered. Need to research cephalopods as an alien discourse? Database that. Don’t know where to begin with your extensive, in-depth investigation of the Spanish Civil War? #database.
Now, if you’re oblivious to this resource, swipe right on this fact: You can appropriate a librarian and have them do the research for you. How postmodern, I know. Ask-A-Librarian is a shiny, new state-of-the-art technology invented specifically to make sure your papers don’t flop around like a soggy Maruchan noodle. There’s a 24-hour chatroom where you can ask surface-level questions about all your needs to a librarian, who is happy to assist you with whatever needs might float your way. Trust me, they can help with anything. I once asked if there were any articles on “psionic abilities with dogs,” and I got some great articles.
If you need extra assurance and you’re starting well in advance, there’s nothing wrong with discussing your paper with a professor or a teaching assistant. You can play brain volleyball and discuss your project — just don’t do it last minute!