Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a pondering

HEading into my second full-time term (well, 11 credits, so 1 short of full-time), and basing what I'm going to say on what I've taken so far, it seems like it would be hard to get anything less than a really good grade at this community college.

When I first started I knew some other people who already had a couple of terms under their belts, and I asked to see their writing so I could judge where I was in relation to the college writing classes. What I saw was something I found a little shocking.

What they showed me were the equivalents to what I was writing in middle school English classes, and they were getting As on these papers.

So, either the schooling has been dumbed down immensely, and I don't know if this is a reflection of the community or what, or my secondary school district had very high standards that we lived up to. I only saw papers from the WRI121 class, which is English Comp, but really, what's the deal here? I thought college classes were supposed to be hard- and when I can turn in a 3 page paper on Neolithic art that took me all of an hour to research and 10 minutes to type and proofread and I get an A+ on it, I have to wonder.

Math is math no matter when or where you take it. Some of us will forever struggle with it and some of us cut through every math class like a hot knife in cool whip. I'll never be a hot knife at math, but I'm better at it than I used to be. The fact that I'm halfway through the term and still passing the class says something.


  1. 100 level classes are often give-aways. It takes a lot of practice to write well, so WR-121 is baby steps, and oddly not much of a step above WR-115. I often read the works of students, and I am shocked by the amount of exclamation points they use, and use the word "alot" when they should use "a lot." Writing students also try to impress their readers by overstatements, like, "I'd like to say this about that" instead of just saying it. I think the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves should be mandatory reading before admission into any writing class.

  2. Most people's writing could be helped by the core of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style: Eliminate unnecessary words.

    But, Stephen King said that if you don't have your grammar skills down by the time you're an adult, to give up any thoughts of being a writer. It's too late. I think he was overly harsh in this criticism. Being a writer/editor I've seen other people's and my own writing evolve.

    But, yeah, I was shocked at some of the writing I saw during my undergraduate program. And I still struggle with math. I am convinced that you can change at least one.

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