Racheal writes here about her daunting experience of writing a research paper at Our Moon. I so admire Racheal; although she found writing difficult, she would never give up. Even writing this blog is further evidence of her tenacity.

I would read PDF documents and wonder what it took to be able to write and produce such a piece of work. After being admitted to Our Moon Education, an NGO that bridges the gap between secondary school and university in Zambia, one aspect of the programme was to write a research essay that I would produce as my very own PDF.

The research essay had to be about a global issue of interest that I had to review within the Zambian context. At first, I could not decide which topic I wanted to research, which led to anxiety. I had never been allowed to write about what interests me. This chance exposed me to some of the things I can do.

It was a 4000-word essay that needed to be fully referenced. At first, the word count intimidated me, especially since I was doing it for the first time. I had always written 300-word essays in secondary school, and now that I had to increase the number, I was terrified. But fortunately enough, I was assigned a tutor who I could consult during my writing journey.

I found there is more than one factor that affects an individual’s course decision. I also discovered that family does affect this decision but only to a certain extent depending on an individual’s ‘in-group’. Other influencing factors included the financial status of an individual and the reputation of the institution where they plan to study.

While writing my essay, I learned how to show and not tell in writing. I also learned how to use what, why, when, where, and how in writing. I intend to continue improving further to advance my written communication skills.

Racheal by Malama

My research essay was about the extent to which family influences an individual’s course of study, a comparison between Zambian and Swiss youth. The main aim of the research essay was to improve my research skills, especially with academic writing because it is something I did not do in secondary school, and to advance my writing skills for better communication. I also had a chance to learn about plagiarism and its effects, knowledge that is cardinal, especially since I intend to attend college.

The essay exposed me to a new perspective on the course of study I will choose at college.

Whenever I share my experience about writing my essay, I describe it as fun – once I started, it no longer felt like it was a burden. I enjoyed every moment, even when I felt like I was making little progress. The essay exposed me to a new perspective on the course of study I will choose at college. I realized the importance of knowing what I am interested in before I decide on my major.

I am the first person in my family to have produced such an official document. But I do not intend to be the last. I now look forward to applying the skills I learned through this journey in college. I wish more high school graduates will undergo Our Moon Education before embarking on tertiary education.

2 thoughts on “My first time writing an academic paper

  1. Great work by Rachael Katandala, a young hardworking Lady.

    Congratulations on her first PDF writing, looking forward to many more to come, keep up the good work!

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