(attention: these tips come from personal experience and everyone has their own way of performing best, so it’s really up to you to figure that out, but here’s a good start)
Believe it or not, you will be required to write a research paper or two while at FIT. FIT, being a SUNY school, is very concerned with the liberal arts. Unlike most art schools, in order to graduate from FIT there are MANY liberal arts requirements, including two semesters of art history, two semesters of foreign language and two semesters of GYM (I kid you not). Let me just say now, if you still have a chance take those AP classes, they can really save you a lot of time. And as tempting as it is to let the libs fall by the wayside, I highly advise against it if you want to actually get your degree. However, most of the professors know that students here are more focused on their major classes, and rightly so, but they will require research papers and they will constitute a huge portion of your grade for the class.
- Pick a topic that is actually interesting to you
You’re going to have to read a lot of books and journal articles on your topic, so if you are actually interested in what you are researching it will not only be more enjoyable, but could potentially open up new doors
2. USE THE LIBRARY
The FIT library is the bomb. It’s not as pretty as Harvard’s or Yale’s, but they have everything – it’s amazing. The library also gives you access to a LOT of databases that most people have to pay for like JSTOR, WGSN, and the Vogue archives
3. USE THE SCANNERS
They just put in the scanners last year and they are definitely one of the best things about the school. Where once you had to pay 10 cents for a black and white copy, or 90 cents for color, now it’s totally free to scan anything and save it straight to your usb OR your gmail drive! (or email or whatever, but these two are the easiest. Also, I can’t tell you how amazing it is that our email is gmail based now)
4. Do not start the week it is due. Much of the effort comes from actually sitting down, reading and doing the research
5. Write an outline!
I love outlines because they let you get your important ideas in order so the essay will flow. Then you just have to fill the rest in with explanations and transitions – the easy stuff.
6. Give yourself a good block of time to write the paper. It always takes longer than you think it will
7. Make sure you know exactly what kind of style your professor wants (i.e. Chicago style vs. MLA). Noodletools is the greatest thing on earth
8. Find the best space to work
Personally, my desk is just another space to pile stuff, so I go for the plain white walls and consistent bright lights of our kitchen. The kitchen also has a close proximity to the food (see #10)
9. Use a thesaurus (or lets be real, thesaurus.com) wisely
10. SNACKS ON SNACKS ON SNACKS
11. The right music is essential.
12. EDIT AND RE-EDIT Bonus: get someone else to read it over