Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Writing Papers (A Rant)

The vitriolic outburst was a great help. After I was done; I was able to focus and the words flowed. My paper was finished in the wee hours of the morning. There were still some issues with it but I was confident enough to shut my computer down and sleep the sleep of the just. Around 11 am this morning, I was ironing out some of the formatting wrinkles when my screen turned a milky white and the computer shut down. When I got it up again the paper was gone. I was able to pull up part of the rough draft that I turned in many weeks ago. I spent the rest of the day working from my notes trying to reconstruct the paper. I turned in what I had at the stroke of 5pm. I have a bad feeling about this, lol. I should be maniacally depressed and perhaps I will be tomorrow. Right now, I am just glad to turn my attention to other things.


I write a lot of papers here at seminary and because I like to write so much you might think that would not be a problem for me. You would be wrong though. I hate writing these kinds of papers.

I them because the subject matter is chosen for me. There is no approved subject that has not already been researched into the dust of the carpet at the library. The search criteria are so set that I am convinced that the electronic highway has permanent groves worn into the millions of connections that make up the world wide web.

I hate it because the professors have already made up their minds about what you should write and how to write it. They read your work according to that lens. What you were saying does not even enter into it only what they think you might have been saying or what you should have been saying. They are not above changing verbs and their tenses in order to make them reflect what they think. Then they criticize your logic for putting that thought in the paper at that point.

The overall effect is like being nibbled to death by a rabid turabian duck trained in the deadly are of Turabian Kwon Do at IRS school. I cannot even express the rebellion I feel deep within my very being at the knowledge that I must submit myself to this capricious and pointless torture. I resent the fact that I must conclude something from this pointless exercise in futility because I know that whatever I conclude, it will almost certainly be wrong. Most people blame Kate Turabian but I blame the professors who set the requirements for the rediculous paper. AAARRGH!!

I should be finishing my paper for Research and Writing now. It is vitally important that I do so as a matter of fact since my entire grade for this course depends on this one paper. This paper hanging over my head, like the sword of Damocles, launched today's rant. I used to believe that the hard part of writing papers would be pretty much over once I had mastered the vagaries of formatting a paper to Turabian standards using microsoft word. I was wrong. There are a thousand and one variables waiting for the unwary writer in Turabian. If format does not kill you then writing style, word choice, and logic will. I have no confidence in my ability to do this at all.



Fin said...

This really takes me back to the days when I had to type papers for money during my college days. Some of them were wretched. Some were lined and crossed out to the point where it was impossible to imagine what the writer intended.

All this of course on a Smith Corona portable typewriter and using three carbons frequently. Back then carbon paper was used over and over.

Some of them invited the typist to go to page XX in xxxx encyclopedia and copy it verbatim. It was not till the introduction of computers and the internet that entire papers on any subject could be ordered up for sale, and professors began to incorporate software to scan submissions for fraud.

Fin said...

Part two

As you may remember, I had a hard drive failure where a half year of work and photos was lost, including the trip to Vicksburg and *snicker* Utica. No grade or class standing was involved, but I sure can identify with the feeling of lost labor. IN fact when a post of mine disappears, frequently I cannot bring myself to recreate even three or four simple paragraphs.

Following my hard drive disaster, I even looked into some professional data recovery firms, only to discover they are impossibly expensive and my good friend and guru determined to his satisfaction that the hd was 'toast'.

In your academic setting, is there any latitude for an explanation to the prof as to just what happened, and perhaps someone in the computer lab where you work undertaking to see what ones and zeros may yet lurk in the bowels of yon Toshiba?