With my Fulbright application submitted (I was not recommended past stage one) and a less stressful job, I now have more free time for me things. I love that I have this free time and can use it to be creative and to do things that make me happy and don’t just add stress to my life.
I decided that since I have this free time, I would actually follow through with completing a course on either Coursera or EdX.org. I chose a writing course on EdX.org called English Grammar and Essay Writing through Berkeley. I know that it is geared more toward ESL speakers and writers, but knew that it would at least ensure I was started writing more frequently.
But something happened today that made me rethink following through with the homework portion of this class. This week’s prompt was the following:
“Write a paragraph that describes your favorite place to visit in your home village, town, or city. Try to make your grammar as correct as you can.”
Not too difficult – I can do that even with boring old Townville as the subject since that is what was asked – writing about my favorite place to visit in my home village, town or city.
This was my response:
“Townville, Pennsylvania is not an exciting hometown to visit. With a population of only 300 it certainly lacks typical activities that most would consider a favorite place to visit. My favorite thing to do when I visit my home? Nothing. I love taking long walks in the woods, or if it is snowing going cross country skiing, taking in the silence of the middle of nowhere. I don’t need to go visit a million people and do a million things. I just need a warm coat, boots or skis, and my two little dogs to keep me company in our quiet corner of northwestern Pennsylvania.”
As I re-read it after submitting, I did notice my grammatical errors, but the content, to me, seemed to meet the criteria of the prompt – I wrote about my favorite thing to do in my tiny home village. I did use the word visit WAY too much.
After submitting, you then had to peer review 5 other students. Fine. I understand that – everyone wants and needs feedback. I read 5 submissions that were a bit all over the place, but 3 of them stood out as strong and covered the topic required.
The others went on a complete tangent about their travel style or a vacation they just went on – completely ignoring the question and one of which had terrible grammar (though I think it may have been because it was submitted on a phone or some device that doesn’t allow capitalization or spaces between sentences).
Guess what? That was my number one feedback, too. I didn’t cover the topic in the prompt.
And this, my friends, is where the frustration and anger began and where my desire to complete the ‘homework’ went out the window. Yes I will write, but no I don’t want someone peer editing my work if they aren’t giving constructive feedback.
One of the reviewers graded me “fair” and wrote the following:
“If Pennsilvania is not exciting why didn´t you write something from a place you like. I think you write very fluently and well”
1. You can copy and paste Pennsylvania from my paragraph. 2. I didn’t write about another place because I was told to write about my hometown… which I did. Sorry if you think it is a made-up town. I assure you it is very real if very small. 3. I didn’t say I didn’t like it, I just said it wasn’t exciting. Places don’t have to be exciting for someone to like them. 4. Yes I am fluent. English is my native language. Thank you for giving me constructive feedback on the commas I was missing or changing vocabulary. If I wrote so well, why did you just give me “fair”? Is it because I offended you with my boring hometown? Or again, do you not think it exists?
Another person flat out said I didn’t cover what the prompt asked. That was the only thing they said. I also think I threw them off with the question in the middle of the paragraph, which isn’t a mistake.
Did you even READ what I wrote? I’m going to say no, no you did not.
I’m just a bit frustrated and amused that I’m actually receiving a grade based on this peer review (I got a 5/10 because two of my 4 reviews were ‘fair’). If I was paying for the actual certificate, I would be even more angered that my final grade incorporates the feedback of peers who apparently don’t understand the prompts or how to give constructive feedback.
I guess we’ll see what happens after next week’s homework assignment. If I even do it.
Remember that time around a year and a half ago when I promised to write more and then didn’t? I remember that too.
I’m going to make that promise again and this time I actually mean it.
I’ve been thinking about writing again for a few months now. About 2 months ago, I even had a new post written. When I went to publish it, it was deleted accidentally and I didn’t have the motivation or heart to write the entire thing again and so I went back into hiding.
I was finally pushed over the edge when I was attempting to write a personal and project statement for a grant application. I quickly realized my writing is terrible. I’m forgetting words. I’m forgetting how to form coherent sentences and have them move together in a fluid collection of thoughts. Again, I’m forgetting words.
Other factors include actually having things to write about and finally having the energy to actually do things again – even just sitting at a computer writing. More on this fun topic to come.
I guess I always say that too – more on this to come! And then never follow through. Another promise that this time I actually will do that.
I’m also in the middle of doing a lot of things – my job is intense due to team members maternity leave, I’m in the middle of applying for a prestigious grant to go live in another country for 9 months, and job hunting. Always on the prowl for that. There are few more enjoyable ways of procrastinating and getting other non-related topics out of my head than writing.
And so, I shall try and write at LEAST once a week? Maybe at least once every 2 weeks. With that said, so long for now!
I know, I know. I’ve been gone for quite some time.
I’m sorry! Things! Life! Stuff!
I have no idea where I left off with life.
Well, it seems that the last thing you really knew about the happenings in my life was that I was taking a watercolor class. That was August. December starts on Saturday.
Here’s what you missed on me! (Get it? to the tune of ‘Here’s what you missed on Glee’ except I stopped watching Glee when it got ridiculous and the music started to suck with the occasional good song or 3 every 5th episode.)
So I live in Berkeley now. I moved here in August. It’s awesome. It takes me less time to get t work now than it did when I lived in the Sunset. I have a yard. We have a dog. My roommates rock. We’ve all been wicked busy.
My friend paid for me to take bartending classes, so I did that. Now I bartend. I just started. It’s at the bar where I used to park myself all the time to watch hockey.
There is no hockey now, but its OK because I’ve been busy working 3 jobs. Yup, you heard me. 3. I want to write a post about the fact that I have an engineering degree and amazing work experience and right now I’m working 3 PT jobs at minimum wage or just above. I’ll get there.
So yeah, bartending. What else? Event staff at the SF Conservatory of Flowers. Love this job. It’s seriously amazing. Love who I work with, the events are fun and I get to spend time in the Conservatory.
I also work retail. I used to sell skin care products. The line was amazing. All organic and everything like that. Locally made, all that fun jazz. The owner is a psychopath so I quit. She yelled at me for giving her a months’ notice. That was fun. I mean, I’m legitimately concerned about her mental health. So are the rest of her employees. I got a job at the store RIGHT next door. It is awesome.
Her new employee told me she doesn’t know how long she can work for a crazy person. And that is why she hasn’t had anyone stay for more than 6 months to a year.
So there we go. Event staff, bartending, and retail. To everyone out there who has never done these things, man it’s hard work. I now have more respect. I mean I always kind of understood how much hard work it is, but now I completely understand. Especially knowing that if those people aren’t in school, they probably have at least one other job. If they have at least one other job you had better believe it means they are on their feet for more than 8 or 9 hours a day. Also, they have to deal with a lot of crap.
If you take anything away from this here post it is this: Be nice to retail associates and bartenders. Even if they aren’t that nice to you. They probably just worked a double shift and are exhausted and some part of their body is probably swollen. Though some people are just awful people, but you can usually tell the difference. Also don’t yell at someone for things not being on sale. 98% of the time, they have nothing to do with the pricing.
Love life? Ha! I don’t even have any good hilarious stories… I’ve deactivated the old OK Cupid account. Non stop ridiculousness message wise from dudes that clearly had not read my profile and realized that there was 0 amounts of attraction or anything in common other than the fact that we both breath oxygen.
Oh! and I guess a huge thing to mention.
I’m applying to graduate school. 2 years after graduating, I’ve realized that I miss it more than I did when I first graduated. But now at least I sort of know what I want to do. I’m applying to 2 separate programs, but both of which I’m extremely passionate about. I’ll keep you posted. The first application is due on December 3rd. It is ridiculously soon. I also need to come up with $200 for application fees. I’m hoping I can sweet talk admissions into waiving my fee.
Now I’m just thinking out loud into this here blog post.
My mom is coming to visit this coming weekend! I haven’t seen her since March. In March, I saw her for 5 hours tops. Before March, I saw her when she took me to the airport to move here. She has never been to San Francisco. I’m very excited. Alas, it is supposed to rain the entire time she is here. I hope weather.com is lying to me! (it probably is)
Time to get my butt out of bed, in some clothes, and to a cafe.
Personal statements, Hooray! If anyone has any advice for grad school (good solid advice) please share! Oh and I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!
I had an OK one. I actually ended up getting a Migraine. I felt it coming on in the morning. It was getting worse as the dinner prep and everything went on and I blew it with this adorable Scottish guy because it threw me off my game.
Such is life!
Speaking of life, go see The Perks of Being A Wallflower. It’s amazing.
Now I’m really done. Goodbye!
Oh Oh oh! Since I’m telling you what to watch, I should tell you what to read, too. Start with The Magicians by Lev Grossman and pick up The Magician King by Grossman as well. It’s the second book. You won’t be disappointed. You can find that in the adult sci fi/fantasy section of any library or bookstore. Go Local!
This is an great post written by a young woman in the blogging world concerning how the path to success is changing with our generation.
It made me realize that I’m not alone out there with my wonky path to success!
P.S. I promise to actually write a post soon! I know I’ve been MIA. There are reasons. Some good, some bad, some in between. You know how life goes – sometimes it just gets really freakin’ busy.