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Days of processed papers soon coming to an end

By H.G. Miller

H.G. MillerHaving spent nearly 16 years of my life in one learning institution or another, I now find myself in an all-too-familiar situation: Staring blankly into the flat-white glare of a computer screen trying desperately to write something original.

Yes, I know, originality isn´t expected of me. Not at this level. Maybe not ever. I find myself wishing to do something different. Why write the same bland, boring, formatted essay paper that I´ve always written?

Standard introduction. Place name of author and title of work here. Regurgitate specified statement from instructor´s lecture notes. Explain broadly what will be specifically detailed in later paragraphs as preordained by the Modern Language Association handbook purchased as a freshman.

Body paragraph quotes should be pulled from the previously underlined source material, preferably those lines reiterated by the instructor and underlined twice. Any semblance of opinion should be carefully organized along lines of thought deemed worthy by outside sources bearing instructor´s approval.

Conclusions should be tidy, with fresh transitional statements preceding the final repetition of ideas expressed in previous paragraphs.

Have I made my point yet?

This is what college has trained me to do. I don´t brush my teeth with as much efficiency as I write a paper.

Interpret a poem? O.K., are there any words repeated twice? Yes — then it´s golden. 1,500 words? Do they all need to make sense? No, just make sure each sentence has at least one comma in it — got it.

Thesis statement. Check.

Proper internal documentation. Check.

Fairly scattered but not too obvious use of thesaurus. Check.

All systems go. Let´s go throw back some cold ones.

Yeah, I enjoy a relaxed learning environment that encourages me to express my own ideas and individuality, just so long as I don´t do it in the hallowed pages of academia.

I don´t know. Maybe it´s senioritis. Maybe I´ve spent too many hours of my life “interpreting” the works of long-dead authors who no longer have authority over their own material. Or, maybe I just want that slip of paper that says I survived 124 credit hours of the will-crushing educational system. And I´m ready to enter the work force to continue this regurgitation and reinterpretation of facts in a way that will allow me to sustain my own existence.

Yes, I am worn out with school. My eyes have glazed over the faded pages of ancient textbooks one too many times. I have put enough No. 2 pencil lead to poison a small horse upon enough scantron pages to make up a large forest. I have watched the seconds of my life tick away one at a time while some poorly coordinated individual fumbled with the many gadgets of a multi-media classroom.

And it was all for the sake of an education. All for the ability to more fully express myself, my thoughts and my opinions. All for an opportunity to take on the world with the knowledge that I am a more fully developed individual than I was four years ago.

And I am.

I don´t deny that college has given me more depth of character than living with mommy and daddy ever could have. I´m ready for it to end. A point has been reached where my own education takes a back seat to my own survival in the classroom, a point where my individuality has been given up for the greater good of graduation.

I learned early that my ideas would have to be put through a blender and sprinkled sparingly across the multitude of assignments handed to professors. Although many different opinions and observations have been presented to me during the last four years, my own thoughts and interpretations have remained bottled up to pass more smoothly through the machinery of enlightenment.

This is student number 646050, and I´m ready to move on to something more.

H.G. Miller is a Hutchinson senior in English.



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