Although I haven’t been able to go back to school since I graduated with a bachelor’s last May, I find that I have prepared myself for such a time in a way that I could not have without a little time off.
One thing that I have learned is that pretty much all of the papers I have ever written have been crap (or, if you prefer, skubala). Yep, that’s right. I said it! Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t put a lot of hard work into those papers. I did. What I’m saying is that if I turned in any one of those papers to a prof for grad studies (or beyond) I should fully expect an ‘F’!
Why? Why would I expect that if I put in so much work? Well, because I’ve learned that I did not know the first thing about writing papers. Since I graduated I’ve started reading articles and more scholarly books. I find (for the most part) clear, concise arguments backed up with sources that deal with the topic, and footnotes that help elaborate further.
Did my papers have these things? Yes, but not the way they should’ve been. My sources I picked, but sometimes stretched the ideas out. Sometimes my arguments didn’t flow as well as they should’ve. And footnotes, don’t get me started on my footnotes!
So, I am glad (in some ways) that I have had this year off. It’s given me a chance to see what I need to work on in my paper writing. I now know what should be expected of me and I think I can deliver on that when I return for graduate studies in the Fall.