Discretion is the better part of valor, in all parts of life. Remember that.
This semester has been one of the worst semesters of my college life. Class-wise, that is. Non-class-wise, it’s been pretty great. But class-wise, it feels like I’m back in high school. Which, contrary to popular belief, is not the best time of one’s life. Especially writing-wise, ugh.
So it should come as no surprise to hear that writing this semester has been a complete drag. It’s basically been response papers to the same subjects presented in variations, or papers that inherently demand simplified arguments because of space and time restrictions. I never thought I’d say this, but I really find myself wanting longer and tougher assignments.
So, because writing opportunities have been complete barf this semester, it’s also been my semester of mediocre grades (can anyone smell early-onset senioritis?). I got my first B- on a paper in a long time. It was in English, which kinda hurt. I mean, if it was one thing I was good at growing up, it was the English language. As my mother was always telling me and I was always thanking her, until I identified it as a back-handed compliment, to say the least.
When I got the grade, I was hacked at first. It’s a lower-level English class, I’m a junior, and a B- isn’t even cutting it for MIW requirements, never mind my pride. Besides, wasn’t complexities one of the joys of the English language?
Then, as the stages of grief go, anger turned to depression. Okay, at this point I realize I was operating as if I had nooo life, but I’m just telling it like it was at the time. Seriously, though, I was in a funk. I began to tell myself that maybe I wasn’t even a good writer, that I deserved this grade. Then it hit me – it was easier to tell myself I wasn’t a good writer than face the truth – I’m a good writer, but I kind of am doin’ it wrong. And that acceptance really has helped me move forward in my writing approach. I don’t think I deserved an A, on that writing assignmen.
And that’s where tutoring elementary children in how to write a paragraph came in handy. One day three weeks ago I sat down across from K., my tutee, and heard myself say, “Well, you know, writing is about communication.” And this is so true! Complex writing is not necessarily good writing, if it fails to communicate ideas. This fact had apparently escaped me when I was writing that pesky English paper. This being real life, I didn’t exactly hear the proverbial angels sing. But still, I went “huh.” And then wrote a two-part blog about it, so I guess that’s something.
In other news, I’m planning on turning my next English paper in next week, so right now I’m working on simplifying. We’ll see how that goes!