Tag Archives: papers

Guess Who’s Back and Ranting about Budget Cuts–Me!

Hello, lovely readers!

Now that I am back from my terrible hiatus (finishing the practicum), I have good news. I finally received a pass with distinction on my final assignment of the practicum. The critical essay was written on one of my personal favorite subjects, detective fiction. Over the course of writing about P.D. James’ Devices and Desires, I found an appalling aspect of our society and the education system.

How can society expect the best and brightest of future generations to expand their minds without the tools to do so? We live in an age where a college degree  (associates, bachelors, masters) is pretty much required for the job you desire, or even a job that will pay for life’s needs. The economy is struggling so badly that we are willing to sacrifice in this area, and still expect students to provide the best results. Students continually pay out of pocket for the resources (laptops, supplies, books) that should be provided for them to become useful in their own field.

What is even more disturbing is the amount of money students shell out just to go to a college, and this doesn’t include access to the best library resources available. If the students can’t do the research to complete their assignments, how do you expect them to graduate with the skills necessary to succeed?

Can’t get to the library to get to the book you need? And to buy it online would cost $100 bucks to quote a few pages and days to ship to you? Oh well!

Now before you give a response, please note that this is not the period of instant information transference. We may have the internet at our fingertips, but that does not mean that the answers are free. Most likely, they are very expensive.  This brings us to the root of the problem. We can make cut backs to our libraries or shut them down all together because it costs too much to keep them open.

All over the country, our libraries are suffering from budget cuts that are supposedly necessary to salvage some other need for society. Yet, in a world where we need that college degree to get a job, and are struggling to find positions for skilled worker (to improve the economy), we decide to cut jobs that can help our society succeed. Check out the map below and see how much our resources are cut back for students and non-students across the country. It will appall anyone with a child or love of books because the future of education is slim if this continues.

But are we really considering the long-term repercussions for making these resources unavailable to students? In many ways, the digital age has made it easier for students to utilize books to their full potential. It is considered a rule of thumb in the classroom (to this day) that print text are more reliable than online sources. This may change as books are converted to electronic format, but the majority of a student’s library resources remain on paper and stacked on shelves (especially for English majors). It is not enough to print out new editions of books each year and demand the student to buy the brand new book.  Now society expects the student to find their way to the library that may close in a few years to find the texts they need to succeed.

Ain’t it the truth?

For many of us (commuters, online students, graduate students), access to a full library is either improbable to fit into a schedule or outside of our abilities to obtain. We look to Google and Yahoo to provide us with scholarly texts that may help us to write the best papers and assignments possible. One teensy problem.  Almost every single scholarly article or journal on the public databases like JSTOR, Project Muse, Questia all require a username/password  or membership for access to any of the full articles.

Why can’t we provide access to online databases for all students (high school and up) to become the most knowledgeable individual that they can be? I don’t think it is that difficult to provide the online or the print resources with the thousands of dollars students will spend 30 year paying back. To me, this is like asking a plumber to learn how to fix pipes without giving him a wrench or tool box. I spent three days looking for resources on my paper only to be left with sad excuses for resources. I was smart enough to purchase one book, which costs me $10 literally for one quote used in my paper. I was lucky the book was available in electronic format because with a full-time job that takes up the library’s hours, it would have been impossible for me to get to a library in time to complete the paper.

The truth is the Google may provide you with the search results, but the answers you seek come at a price.

While my critical paper took 3 days to research, it could have taken a few hours. Without the access to a physical library or the literary journals needed to collect resources, I was forced to use little scholarly resources for my paper. I wish I could have gained access to more because my paper would have been a better one. I happened to luck out this time, but for thousands of students in some of the best schools in the country, they are suffering from a lack of knowledge.

Share your opinion of how students and other readers have little access to library resources. It’s not just the print books that are in danger, but the digital sources are restricted to those who can pay out of pocket for a few minutes of view time.

Anyway, Happy reading and writing all!

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Attack of the Procrastinator

One of my worst fears is that my procrastination will prevent my progress as a writer. It can be distressing for a writer to have a deadline looming over his/her head, but it is an occupational hazard. For most of my life, I have used deadlines and due dates as a way to push myself to write better. Procrastination is one of the worst detriments because it convinces you that you have the time and energy to get the job done later rather than sooner.

My confidence somehow enhances the more I wait to get my paper written. It defies logic that waiting until last minute will produce a good quality anything. As illogical as it seems, I follow it foolishly. This is my second critical paper for the practicum semester, and what appeared like an easy paper turned out to take a lot more time. I read Blackbird House  in plenty of time to complete the paper.

However, I am four days from the deadline, and only 2 pages into my critical essay. Am I worried? No way! Should I be? Probably. At this point in my academic/writing career, I should know better then to waste my time not finishing the paper. At the same time, I know I’m not necessarily wasting my time not doing my paper. Since I finished the book, I knew what I would write for the essay. I just haven’t been able to execute the whole thing. So, I’ve been spanning the work a little each day: brainstorm, outline, and actual then writing. Two pages down and around 3-5 pages more to go.

If I keep up a pace of 1-2 pages a day, I will finish it with time to spare. Is it procrastination to span out the work day-by-day? To me, it’s an unconventional way to get my paper done with a busy schedule. Maybe without Facebook and the allure of watching Man vs. Wild on Netflix, I’d be able to concentrate a little more. Hopefully, the procrastination will kick my adrenaline in gear to get my work done in time.

How does your procrastination attack you while writing? Does Facebook creep up every ten minutes? Do you search for activities to avoid doing your work? Share the ways you struggle with procrastination!

Happy writing/reading!

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Inside the Life of A Grad Student

I have stated before that I am currently seeking my M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Carlow University. Pittsburgh is my setting for the next two years and it is an under rated place for writers.

My master’s program is unique because it is low residency in addition to studying abroad. It leaves me with a lot of time to write and amazing places to see. My first residency began almost a month ago and ended 11 intense days later. The low residency allows me to absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time.

Eight hours of seminars, workshops, and guest speakers with little time to breathe. I learned so much I can’t even write down the enormous amounts of knowledge I have now. You might not think 11 days can teach you a lot, but when you get a group of energetic, lonely writers together knowledge flows like a fountain of wine. I can tell you that already I have made life long friends in under two weeks. It is astounding what can happen when you put people with a common interest in the same room.

As the residency came to a close, I felt sad knowing I would have to go out into the world alone and use my new knowledge to write. It was so comforting to share my ideas with people who truly cared about giving constructive comments to improve my work.

From the end of the residency until June, I have some assignments and a lot of writing to do. Hopefully, though, I can count on the comments from my readers on here to help me with my fiction and guide me until my next residency.  Tomorrow I will have to e-mail 10 pages of my fiction to my mentor and in another two weeks I will have to  prepare a critical essay from a book I’ve read. Seems pretty simple for a graduate program, huh? Well, the easy part may seem to be the lack of work. In reality, the freedom and self-motivation become the difficult parts. Lucky for me I am a page away from my assignment due tomorrow.

The book I will start to read is The Gathering by Anne Enright, which is fitting because in four months I will be getting on a plane to Dublin, Ireland. My next residency is at Trinity College in IRELAND?! Since I am not a well-traveled young woman, this trip will be the first of many adventures I will have the pleasure of taking. Thanks to Carlow’s required study abroad aspect of the program, I get to visit a country I have dreamed of seeing for my entire life.

Only 11 days of class, four books, four papers, and then  trip to Ireland. How can life get any better? Let me tell you, I am one lucky girl that I can spend my days writing my heart away and my nights comfortable in my bed dreaming of four leaf clovers and Irish pubs.

I truly am grateful for the opportunities given by this program and enjoy every second of my new life as a full-time writer. My friends, colleagues, and family get to read what I do every day and see the happiness writing can bring a person.

Besides, how can a writer not be happy with this library to look forward to?

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