In truth, "Will you help me with my art history paper?" would be one of the more polite, grammatically correct emails. Variations on this theme include:
- "Help me now!"
- "You have to help me!"
- "i need ur help ASAP!!!"
And so on.
First, if you're wondering what the problem is with the above examples:
Bear with me a minute here. As an adult, mother and wage earner, I am honor-bound to share a few words of advice, whether you want to read them or not.
1. Your homework is your responsibility. At this point in your life, getting an education is your job. Out there in the real world, when you have a "real" job, nobody is going to bail you out when you slack off. Not performing your job = no job = possibly moving back in with your parents and sleeping in the basement. Learning to be responsible for your work is a good concept to learn now, when nobody is going to fire you.
2. Never once, in 18 years of schooling, was I given a paper to write with a five-minute deadline. Essay exams, yes. Homework, never. Nor has this happened to anyone I know personally. Nor has this sort of wildly unfair assignment ever been meted out by any teachers I know, and I know quite a few. You'll have to understand my skepticism when informed that this has happened to you.
3. I am not obligated to drop everything in my personal life for your emergency. Please don't email telling me I "have" to help you, and I won't reply that you are first required to come here and help me with the housework.
4. If you cannot exert the minute effort it takes to hit the shift key and capitalize "I", or properly manage to spell a four-letter pronoun, you need more help than I am willing to invest.
5. Important Life Skill: The words "please" and "thank you" are your magical friends. Learn them.
End of lecture. Here are some tips to help you.
- Search this site. There is a search box at the top of each page. Type in your search terms, be they "Greek art" or "poker playing dogs", and hit "Go".
The results that will come up first are contained within the About Art History site. Directly following these entries, you'll find results from across the About network's one million pieces of original content. Odds are good someone here has written something about your topic.
- Read the page entitled "How To Write an Art History Paper." Trust me, it is written by an art history professor who has slogged through thousands of essays both good and bad. If you want a decent grade, take her dos and don'ts to heart.
- Post your question on the Art History Forum. There is a category devoted to "Homework Help". (Hint: Don't expect too much help if your post reads along the lines of those first examples and, again, "please" and "thank you" are big crowd pleasers.)
- Go to Google. Any time I have been inclined to help a student, and haven't had the answer in my reference sources, it has taken approximately 5 minutes of time to locate such using Google. I mean no disrespect to other search engines, but there is a darn good reason that "Googling" (as opposed to one hundred other "ing"-s one might have constructed) is now used as a verb.
If searching the web is new to you, the About Web Search site has a fast, painless beginner search tutorial - along with many other web search basics you'll want to know.
- Use the library! Back before Al Gore (or whoever it truly was) invented the Internet, we old fogies did all of our research in these fine facilities. Your school's library may only be open during school hours, but most public and university libraries keep evening and weekend hours.
In many instances, you've already got the names of the references you'll need on your class syllabus. Lacking this information, one fabulous fact about libraries is that they have employees who will steer you towards the most pertinent resources - all you have to do is ask for help. (Have I mentioned "please" and "thank you" lately?)
- Learn how to write an art history paper.
- Search the site.
- Search the About network.
- Search the entire known Internet universe via Google.
- Politely post your question in the Art History Forum.
- Use those libraries that are at your disposal.
- Send an email that demands help.
- Send an email at the last minute that demands help.
- Send an email full of spelling and/or grammatical errors that demands help.
- Post anything like the above on the Forum.
- Neglect to budget your time more wisely, next assignment.