Person sitting at a desk in front of a laptop writing in a notebook.

I’ve Got a List, So I Check it Twice

After 4 long years of undergraduate schooling, and 3 long years to obtain my master’s, I was finally sitting in class in my first semester of a doctoral program.

This was it. I’d endured the slings and arrows of academic writing and finally, come out on top. The headaches of figuring out properly placed commas and italicized volumes were things of the past. I could rest easy knowing that the hardest parts of becoming an academic writer were behind me.

“The APA is about to introduce new writing guidelines,” my professor dropped into her lecture.

Excuse me?

Over 7 years, I’d fought to understand the intricacies of writing academically in APA. And, now, they were changing it on me?

No amount of crying, moaning, or ignoring was going to change the fact that 7th edition was on students’ doorsteps and getting ready to erase all the work I’d put into understanding 6th edition. After giving myself the time to feel my anxiety, I remembered that, if I had figured out APA formatting once, I could probably do it twice. The only thing left to do was to prepare.

I attended a talk hosted by the Virtual Writing Center (VWC) in which the changes, and reasons for them, were clearly outlined.

Suddenly, the 7th edition didn’t seem so bad.

In fact, since it removed the need for abstracts on student papers, required “et al.” for sources with 3 authors, and standardizing headings, it’s actually even easier for me to understand than the 6th edition was. Also, the VWC also has written up both a handy reference guide and checklist to help me make sure I don’t forget anything.

A year and a half later, both the reference guide and checklist are indispensable allies in the continuing battle of academic rigor.