Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Woe is me part 2, the horrible seminar paper

yesterday, i turned in the worst paper i have written in my life to the oldest and probably most widely known professor in the department and my 9 seminar classmates. in this seminar, there is no revision, after my presentation next week, this is it.

it was bad. bad. bad. period.

i don't know what's wrong with me. i have been working on the ideas for it for months. i had the film going in a continuous loop while i wrote. have tons of books out of the library. have pages and pages of notes and diagrams. But in the end, i couldn't figure out an argument to make, i decided (too late) that if i started writing maybe i'd figure out, but i never did. i just started too late. I didn't end up plugging in the research or much of the analysis. The writing itself, on the sentence level, is bad because i had no time to reread and polish. And you may ask if there is no research and there is no analysis and no clean writing, what is there?

nothing. drivel.

i thought maybe i had misjudged myself and reread the paper again last night. i haven't. it's bad.

so, after i handed in the paper, after an all nighter in which my classmate J. and i kept eachother miserable company via incoherent email (he was working on his paper for the seminar too), the prof. saw me in the department and he was like "So how do you feel about the paper." and i had to tell him. "i'm sorry. i've thought a lot about this, but in the end, i just couldn't organize my thoughts." Then, as i was talking to my other prof., he stopped in her office and said, "Can you believe this. C. thinks she just turned in a bad paper to me. Hahaha." The other professor laughs too, and all i can say is, "i hope you're right, but i'm afraid it's true this time."

i saw him in the dept. today, and he looked at me funny.

Oh, it's so horrible. i want to hide in shame. i promise any reader who tries to tell me it is not that bad. it is. usually, i at least have a lot of sources in my works cited section to show that i've done the work. this time it just didn't happen--on any level.

Oh, the humiliation.


stefan said...

hallo,you know life is not easy not everything what we do is perfect or without mistake , i am 35 and still learning still find out how stupid,imprudent i have been- or i am but you are a clever woman who always works hard and i know it ´ll continiu so pls. don´t be too harsh on yourself sometimes have a rest and hold on....

Talatu-Carmen said...


thank you. that is very nice and comforting. i think my problem is that sometimes i work really hard on the wrong things and slack off on the things i should be doing. but, you are right. we are all human and fallible, and hopefully i've done enough good things in the department that one terrible paper will not ruin my reputation.

i'm just so ashamed and disappointed in myself. it is a film i love, and i could have done something so much more interesting with it that i could use in the future.

but... that i've done it badly this time doesn't mean i can't rewrite and do better in the future.

i'm really ready for coursework to be over, so that i can just settle down and WRITE.


Anonymous said...

When you say something is terrible, it's usually much better than you make out. Don't panic, just wait for the results to come out - no needt be paranoid.

Talatu-Carmen said...

so, i got an AB in the class. This is humiliating, yet it is absolutely fair. My ideas were good; the seminar paper was sloppy. I'm not as upset as I could be about it. i think i am really ready to be done with course work and done with such silly things as grades. And this has been a touch and hectic semester. i plan to go see my professor tomorrow and apologize to him for turning in such rubbish. i feel worse about that than the grade, because i feel like i'm at the point where grades probably don't matter quite as much as they used to. What I do feel bad about is disappointing a professor who, till now, thought I did good work and wrote me some good recommendation letters. So, the AB doesn't hurt as much as his disappointment and the sparse comments he gave on my paper (when he usually gives back the paper with a sheathe of about 20 pages of comments). Ouch. I definitely need to go talk to him.