Doing the reading (was: Best Books 2002)

Denise DeGraf mustang at sonic.net
Tue Jan 7 18:54:29 EST 2003


Megan Knight danced around singing:
>So, if you feel that you get
>better marks for the work you were unprepared for, that might be because you
>know how to use punctuation, or it might be because the rest of the essays
>were so bad, or because you were the umpteenth essay she read, and you at
>least got the name of the novel right, but it is unlikely to be because you
>actually know as much as you think you do.

Not terribly likely considering I'm at Berkeley.  :^)  It's extremely 
difficult to get into the university at all without advanced writing 
skills, plus it's impossible to declare English as a major without pulling 
a B-average in the first two years of rigorous courses.  My bachelor's 
thesis and all senior-level courses are finished, I only have a couple of 
earlier classes I'd missed to finish up with.  Most of our profs have been 
teaching for decades, as you can guess, and they don't cut slack on one 
student because another failed to use proper punctuation -- in fact, I've 
had readers nail me a half-grade for having a 1.1" margin on one side 
rather than 1" exact margin when my printer was out of whack.  This is not 
a campus to play around on...  That I have a 176 IQ, am autistic-savant, 
and read constantly aside from the drearier assigned texts might also have 
something to do with it.

I also have a few good friends at Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, and various 
other top campuses doing anything from bachelor's through doctoral 
studies.  All employ the same method, primarily because there's no physical 
way to get through the amount of reading that is typically assigned to 
students at our schools.  (Average reading load per week at Berkeley with a 
full standard courseload is 3,000 pages.  I don't know about you, but I 
read at high speed, have been literate since before age two, have a 
photographic memory, and *I* could never manage to pull that off.)

I spent last semester grading the most abysmal papers imaginable at a 
junior college, and *those* students couldn't hide when they didn't do the 
reading.  Then again, they also couldn't use proper grammar, punctuation, 
and a few still couldn't get the instructor's name correct by the end of 
the semester.  Were I at a campus like that, THEN I would say that my 
getting an A on a paper is by virtue of being capable of the most basic 
writing skill, because there were plenty of kids that got an A- with me for 
exactly that reason.  :^P

Denise DeGraf ~*~ http://www.sonic.net/mustang/moggy
"When they come to write the list of Great Battle Cries
Of The World, 'Erm, excuse me' won't be one of them."
-- Terry Pratchett: 'Sourcery'

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