In light of finals week (hence the lack of post last week–sorry guys!) and finishing the bulk of my remaining English classes this semester, I thought I’d post about one of my more recent experiences and lessons learned from studying a subject I so adore. Enjoy! Maybe…
Being an English major, I write. A lot (shocking I know). What this means is, about once each week I have some kind of writing assignment due. Usually more often. Usually more higher-stakes–than most other majors, that is.
As an avid writer (and reader), I realllly don’t mind this. In fact I quite like it! To an extent… But see, when you take multiple English courses in a single semester on top of other non-English courses that are just as writing-intensive, you tend to become a little… burned out in your writing endeavors.
Consequently, if you’re me (you do quite like writing), your desire to give each and every assignment your best effort diminishes over the semester somewhat. Plus, what energy you do have is all directed toward constructing your senior thesis (or, theses… haha don’t be like me)–that big, bad writing project that pretty much determines whether you can graduate from the all-expensive, stress-inducing preparation for the real world phase in life we call college. All this to mean I don’t always try as hard as I could on some of the papers I turn in for class.
Now, me being me, my “not trying” is still quite a bit of trying. But I don’t stress quite like I would with writing assignments during an “average workload” semester. Like, seriously guys, I once spent seven hours writing a two-page paper. Because I’m me. And I stress in even the calmest of situations. Isn’t anxiety grand? So, in a sense, having a relatively “care-free” attitude in regards to writing my papers has been advantageous, but I digress.
Unfortunately, “not trying” does not go unnoticed–especially at a small school. And when your “not trying” takes place in a class with a professor who loves you and your writing abilities. This loving professor recently handed back a paper I’d turned in and had not (even I admit) done my best work on, and, though I received an awesome grade, the comments let me know my paper wasn’t perhaps quite worthy of the grade… or was it? Basically, my professor said my argument didn’t make much sense, was unclear. However, whatever it was I was trying to say was well-supported and well-worded. So there’s that. But then I say, well which is it? Can I really write a strongly-supported claim even if it’s, essentially, completely obtuse?
According to my grade–the evaluation of my skill–I sure can. In the case of English-based term papers, assignments are graded more on evidence and presentation (eloquence) more than context and relevancy. And I guess if I have the skills to put together an argument and do so eloquently, I shouldn’t worry whether my points are completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
But I do.
Because in the real world, relevancy is a big, big factor that drives assignments. Relevancy evokes the need for written content (think: news); without it, we have, well, works like my blog. Much like my term papers, though perhaps entertaining and occasionally enlightening, it doesn’t always provide much grounds for application, for action. Not realistically speaking, at least. But see, I enjoy the creative side of formulating an argument, realistic and logical or not. Unfortunately, then I’m met with responses like those of my professor’s–my writing is “brilliant but lacking rationale”. Sigh…
It’s no wonder people speculate with skepticism the job prospects of those in my major (which is just, totally incorrect, by the way–I mean the world needs communicators, analysts, creatives, which all can arise from English degrees, but, believe what you want to believe). Just kidding! It appears I have skill. I just need to… perhaps revise my approach. Be realistic. Logical. Caring. All completely doable… when I don’t have three others papers, a speech, and a test to prepare. Off to a great start here. Perhaps next semester? Oh wait, I’ll be writing my theses. So yep, I’ll definitely need to be incorporating that logic and care there. Ohhhh excitement…