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more academic griping and misery - term paper faux pas


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So, I decided to come on here and vent because I had a disturbing realization this evening and ever since then I have not been able to study--

Last week I submitted a paper for one of my classes. It was not a traditional term paper. We were supposed to write a five-page essay giving our opinion on some topic relevant to the class, using 5-10 references. We were supposed to challenge ideas and be "provocative." (Uh oh...) The prof said that we should send in the draft of our essay by Friday, and he'd email feedback/suggestions on Saturday. Well, I sent in my essay and it's now (or, was....) Wednesday evening and I never got feedback on my essay. I didn't think much of this because this professor is generally terribly elusive and completely unresponsive, never lets us know how we scored on our exams, does not even provide any kind of clue throughout the semester as to how we are doing in the courses we take with him, etc etc. You know, the standard distracted professor...

Anyway, as I'm sitting and studying tonight, it hits me like lead---I wrote an "opinion piece" on a topic of direct relevance to the professor's research, and yet I didn't make even ONE reference to this professor's research or publications in the essay. At all. No reference to the prof's work whatsoever. And this topic is my professor's big schtick. I don't know how I managed to overlook something so huge. I'm overcome with panic about how this prof is going to receive this essay now. I've started to wonder, what if he hasn't sent feedback for the essay not because of his usual aloofness, but because he is struck completely speechless and offended that I could be such an ignorant punk; he's just beyond words and is too disgusted to even grade my essay; doesn't even know how to address my sheer idiocy with me.

I really hate to post another characteristically long, rambling, ridiculous freak-out post, but yeah, I'm freaking out about this one. Anyone manage to commit these completely asinine and disgraceful anti-intellectual acts even when they're 2 years into grad school?

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Or, he read your article, got mad, and hasn't replied yet because he's been busy trying to find a way to ruin your career and kill the ones you love.

Relax. And if he even as much as implies you should have mentioned his work, just make up an excuse.

"I thought we were supposed to be provocative!" :lol:

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he is struck completely speechless and offended that I could be such an ignorant punk; he's just beyond words and is too disgusted to even grade my essay

I know you were exaggerating, but the entire flaw in your reasoning revolves around assumptions like this.

To be a professor you need a remarkably thick skin. If you really did offend him I think you could expect comments sooner rather than later.

Why don't you just check with some of the other students and see if they got their comments back yet? Or you could even just write him a short e-mail and mention that you're worried he might have been offended and you were wondering what he thought of your paper.

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  • 2 months later...

I just stumbled on this and was wondering if you heard anything from your professor. I once had to write a paper on one of my other professor's work and made some pretty critical comments, under the assumption that my diatribe would remain between my professor and myself (in my defense, the paper that I attacked was an analysis of a theoretical paradigm that my work was built on). I was wrong. The following class, both of my professors came into the seminar and the professor whom I'd criticized opened the class with my criticisms (mentioning my name) and asked the class what they thought about these comments and some more honest graduate students agreed with some of my criticisms. It ended up being a great class and I maintained a good relationship with the professor that I criticized.

I guess my point is that, as someone suggested, most of your professors have pretty thick skins so if you have not heard from him, ask him/her about the paper.

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Heh, I blush when I read some of my past posts. :oops: I never did hear from the prof ever again (submitted the paper after the last class and then the final exam was proctored), but no one else in the class heard from the prof about their papers either. My classmates dismissed me as being silly and paranoid when I told them why I had assumed I had never gotten feedback for my paper.

I still think my paper went too far and was carelessly written in terms of, umm, discussing the relevant literature (!!!), but I did end up getting an A for my final grade and this prof tends to give out more A-'s than A's. So apparently he couldn't have been THAT pissed off. (Or maybe he was....) =)

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