Saturday 10 January 2009

the problem with essays

- i don't think in straight lines and yet this is what an essay demands. A linear flow of thought from one paragraph to the next. Like there's been an explosion of thoughts which have to be funnelled down into a narrow stream of one word following the next, losing all their energy in the process. my thoughts go in circles and spiders and storms. I could draw it all out for you on a big sheet of paper if you'd let me.

- there is not one way of saying things. chosing one above the other seems to take away from the whole process of thinking and questionning and analysing and suggesting ideas, because it means discarding a whole lot of what formed part of the planning process, as if it's unimportant because it won't make it to the final show. OK so yes i hate the way i have pages and pages of notes and i have spent hours working on this but if i don't 'do it right', no one will be able to tell.

-Do we chose the way of 'telling it' that we know (if we do indeed know) is what "they" are looking for or do we stay true to ourselves and risk getting a lower grade?

- they want us to be original. but their (or that of the one man who will read and mark the essay) definition of originality is highly narrow. and if original is writing something that no one else has thought of, well... how are we to know what everyone else is currently thinking and choosing to write down?! it all seems a matter of chance.

- and it leads to the bigger question of one person deciding the worth of our work, and that number potentially influencing our futures and saying that in some way we are better or worse than the next person... and i hate the fact i do still care as much as i don't want to; that i will be disappointed if i get a 2:2 and not a 2:1, because someone somewhere along the line told me that's what my brains are worth and so i will somehow be letting them, or myself down.

- and i know a degree is supposedly a 'privilege', a 'passport', and is what everything i've done academically in the past has been leading up to, and here i am begrudging the whole system yet too much a part of it to give up just yet. too proud? or just 'sensible'. and then there's all that money.....!!!

overdramatic maybe. but somehow it all makes me feel like i've put on a pair of dark glasses and everything turns a shade of grey.

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