Part of it is that I don't actually proofread
what I write. Another part is that I write everything pretty much stream-of-consciousness-style, letting it flow out my fingers as it falls out my head.
But still, it's a little annoying to be writing one post, look down at the previous post, and see an egregious grammatical error such as writing: "And then get a
Here's what's daunting about that to me:
I am not a good college student, and never was. Here's how I have written almost every paper in my college career.
1.) Paper is due (for instance) Wednesday at 11 AM.
2.) Sunday night, realize that paper is due Wednesday. Keep watching Simpsons.
3.) Monday night, realize that paper is due Wednesday. Keep watching Monday Night Raw.
4.) Tuesday morning, realize that paper is due Wednesday. Look at syllabus and "class notes" and see what paper has to be on. Think about thesis while sitting on the crapper.
5.) Tuesday afternoon. For about five minutes, wonder why I'm such a bad student.
6.) Tuesday evening, sit down at computer and write thesis statement. If I'm feeling froggy, I'll write the whole opening paragraph.
7.) Tuesday night, go to bed.
8.) Wednesday morning, 5:30 AM. Get up. Make pot of coffee. Go on writing session. Write paper in roughly two hours (depending on paper length). Get up, take shower.
9. Wednesday morning, 9:00 AM. Go proofread the paper. Disregard the fact that you're still close enough to the writing and it's still fresh in your mind and you'll miss any typographical errors.
10.) Wednesday morning, 11:00 AM. Turn paper in. Stomach churns slightly in case professor can smell the bullshit wafting off the paper.
11.) The Next Wednesday: Get paper back. Grade: A-.
And that's the typical schedule. Move the clock back a ways if it's a night class.
My biggest success story? I had a Folklore class about four years ago...heh...And the final project was worth about 40% of the final grade. And my interviews fell apart in the last week...one of the storytellers I was set to interview actually had a massive coronary a couple of hours before I was going to interview them.
So I had to find a subject and link everything to my professor's pet theory about the Modern American Myth.
And I used Adams, Tennessee's Bell Witch as my subject, and over the course of a 24 hour period, starting Tuesday night and ending about three hours before 6 o'clock classtime, I read, found articles, linked everything together using the criteria set up by the professor for his own pet theory, and wrote a 20 page paper.
I went a little mad that day.
And you want to talk about worrying. I was praying hard, guys. Please Jesus...if you get me through this, I'll turn over a completely new leaf....Please Jesus
We go to class next week, and Professor Wolfe gives a huge long lecture about how disappointed he was in the class. How it doesn't seem like anybody gave themselves any time at all to do their projects. He even had suspicions that a couple of folks had even made up the stuff they'd used in their research. He wasn't thrilled that as many people used internet sources as they did.
My heart, the whole time he was speechifying, was pounding. And with that last statement, I about had a stroke. See, one of the facets of Dr. Wolfe's whole American Myth criterion collection was that a story shifts over time. That's not his idea, it's a given. And I was using the internet to show how much a story can shift, even after it's been written down someplace else. I was positing that the internet is largely an extension of the old oral tradition. My whole argument would have been destroyed by the fact that when you write something down, it's permanent. I was saying that it's just an extension of the oral tradition, though by using something written down as evidence, I was putting myself up as an example of Dr. Wolfe's argument against the internet. When you go back to something written down, you give it creedence.
It's not my argument, it's his.
But I digress.
Dr. Wolfe goes to hand back the papers. He hands me mine, and pats me on the shoulder. I was crestfallen. I'd taken the pat as "good try, but I'm smarter than that."
I open the paper, and read through it. There are the obligatory little red marks. He's underlined a couple of things. But he's made no comments. Dr. Wolfe was huge on writing red comments on papers.
And I make it to the back of the paper. And here is what was written:
"I enjoyed your paper immensely. You obviously did an incredible amount of research. You used excellent sources of information when citing the internet, but your legwork with the written word is astounding. I looked at a couple of your sources and I actually plan on using them in a piece of work of my own. This is first rate work, Mr. Acuff."
And written in a big letter at the bottom: "A+."
I almost dropped a load in my pants right there.
But here's the funny part. If you're still with me.
I sat down that night to read through the paper. And it was
pretty good, if I say so myself. But as I'm reading somewhere along the thirteenth or fourteenth page, I read a paragraph. And here's the sentence I found:
"...this things all combined with Charlse Bell's account that he wrote himself establish several viable written resources that a researcher might use."
"This things?" "he wrote himself?"
I also mispelled on of my principle source's names.
That's bad enough.
But here's the kicker. The paragraph that this line appears in? It appears twice
in the paper. I'd gone to cut and paste the paragraph, moving it down in the paper. Well...I'd pasted it. But I hadn't cut it. I'd copied it.
In my first rate work.
My point? My educators never corrected me, and gave me good praise even when I wrote utter tripe.
You should likewise pay no attention to either the grammatical makeup of my page, nor its content, and do your best to be dazzled by the B.S., and let my true intent soak through to your brain via osmosis.
Hey, I have a college degree.