Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Image from simplyclassicfruitbaskets.com
In case anyone wonders what's become of me, it's finals week at the university. For those in my program, this means long, arduous research writing.

The deadline is coming up Wednesday, and I am very close. What a job! I have read a gazillion pages of research and am attempting to synthesize it into something that will not only have value in this class I'm taking, but can also serve as a section of my upcoming thesis.

There is so much meta-thinking going on that my head is spinning: I am writing about academic discourse, while writing in academic discourse, etc.

Not only that, but because this is ESL (English as a Second Language) pedagogy I'm writing about, I must use a new and unfamiliar citation and formatting style, APA as opposed to MLA (American Psychological Association style is used in the social sciences, while Modern Language Association style is used in the humanities).

I have so much sympathy now for my little stressed out freshmen at the end of the semester trying to format their portfolios according to these seemingly esoteric rules!

Completing this paper is one of those accomplishments that will go unsung, no matter how much work I have devoted to it. No matter how many times I have compared it to labor, as in childbearing, there will be no beautiful creation afterwards to share with my friends.

There will be no glorious work of art to show, no bounteous garden to feed my friends, no delicious meal to spread out on the table and fill our bellies. Just a little stack of 17 pages, covered in typed text, too boring even to ask my friends to read.

Like the labor itself, the fruit will be visible only to me; I mean, the insights and connections made while writing it this paper.

The good news is that after this I have only one more class to take plus the task of writing the 50-75-page thesis, which after this, will have 32 pages of raw material to get me started. Yippee! My master's of arts grows ever closer.

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