Scene: The magnanimous Professor Key (a pseudonym) and struggling student, Janine (not a pseudonym), have just completed their last classes for the day and meet along a campus path.
Janine: Can I walk with you? I need a cry, but I’ll try not to actually start crying.
Professor Key: Uh-oh, what happened?
Janine: A couple weeks ago, we had to do a short essay on a poem we read in class. Nothing major: 2 pages, double spaced, just enough to make sure our writing skills are up to par. And I think psh! I’m a writer; piece of cake, right?
PK: Right. Was this for Professor Choir?
J9: Of course.
PK: Go on.
J9: So she passed the essays back today. Some of them, though, she didn’t have time to grade, so she read their names and said they could pick up their essays from her mailbox after lunch. I didn’t get a paper back, and my name wasn’t on the list.
PK: Why not?
J9: She told me to see her after class.
PK: What?! What did she say?
Janine: Well she got to me first, before any other students could grab her attention, and she was whispering, trying to be discrete, so I couldn’t really hear her.
PK: That’s good, though. That means she likes you.
J9: Earlier, when she passed back the other essays, she said she makes a lot of comments, so if the papers were covered in red ink it didn’t mean they were bad. Mine was blank: not one red mark.
PK: What was wrong with it?
J9: I have to redo the whole thing! She said I didn’t use the right format, and asked if I’d even taken English 1A and 1B. (Basic reading/ composition for degree credit)
J9: I mean, she was very nice about it, but still. Damn!
PK: Do you mind if I take a look?
I dig my sorry excuse for an essay out of my binder and hand it to Professor Key. It takes her two seconds to identify the problem.
PK: Okay, I see. [She points to the first paragraph]. You didn’t use the MLA format. Send me an email to remind me, and I’ll send you some resources to help you out. Personally, I wouldn’t call this a redo, but I know how Professor Choir is. Here’s a tip: ask her for help before you turn it in again. In the future, visit her office often and ask for lots of help. She loves a kiss-ass. And don’t cry!
J9: *sniffle* Okay.
Yup, it was a tough day of college for the old broad. I think a nice frosty bottle of apple ale is on the agenda.