Index Card Organizer

by Carrinicole

It was a rite of passage to survive the AP US History “Junior Research Paper” at my high school . We had to write a 20+ page thesis on any topic in American history.

I struggled to identify my topic. My interest in organized crime blossomed in high school, and by junior year I had a full-fledged obsession with “The Godfather.” Outside of police-recorded crime & punishment, there wasn’t a lot of meat on this to research as a topic on its own…understandably.

So I went with the thesis paralleling the history of alcohol (prohibition to legalization) with marijuana in the US, setting up the argument that prohibition doesn’t work, and marijuana will be legal based on the positive economic and health impact. I still remember my mom helping me sift through source books, and her bringing home “Reefer Madness” from the library. 😂

For the record, I did NOT do well on this paper… I think I got a B-. The topic might not have been appropriate for a teenage Texan in the early 2000s, or I wasn’t a strong research writer. I do smile at the balls I had to choose this topic, AND I feel pretty good about that choice now because my thesis is rolling out at the state level!

We had to do the “index card” strategy to document, organize, and outline our paper. That skill stays with me today. With technology all around us to help us cut corners, sometimes you just need to put your phone away, put pen to paper, and do things old school— because many times thats the easiest and most creative way.

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