Remember to schedule your essay well. Don't wait until the last few days to do the research, or you're likely to find all the good books have been signed out already. Don't wait until the last minute to do your writing, because if you discover you're missing a key bit of information, you may not have time to get it. Worse, you might end up feeling ill or having conflicting obligations the night before the essay is due, and no reasonable teacher or professor will give you an extension if you bring them a pathetic excuse such as, "I had to go to work," or "I had a headache." Furthermore, whatever you churn out in the wee hours of the morning is bound to be second-rate at best. Leaving the essay to the last minute is also tempting Murphy to throw in problems such as malfunctioning printers, computer crashes, being out of toner or paper, long lines at the printers on campus, etc. I always aimed to have my essays done one full week before they were due. In some instances, circumstances did prevent completion a week early, but because I had that buffer zone of a week, I never had to hand in something late.
Example: Imagine that you want to write a descriptive essay about your grandfather. You've chosen to write about your grandfather's physical appearance and the way that he interacts with people. However, rather than providing a general description of these aspects, you want to convey your admiration for his strength and kindness. This is your reason for writing the descriptive essay. To achieve this, you might focus one of your paragraphs on describing the roughness of his hands, roughness resulting from the labor of his work throughout his life, but you might also describe how he would hold your hands so gently with his rough hands when having a conversation with you or when taking a walk.