Graduate School Paper Fail & Other Updates

CMYK_ESC_GRADSchool_StackedOver the weekend I received back the first major paper for one of my graduate school courses.  I received no grade for it because the professor, who is also my academic adviser, said that I did not really answer the questions asked.  She also wrote that my paper is casual, whatever that is supposed to mean, and wanted to know why I handed in the paper that I did.  Needless to say I was quite upset.  I spent hours, and HOURS and DAYS reading the assigned material and then writing my paper.  To end up with a no grade did a job on my emotional state.  I began to cry and then wondered if I am cut out for graduate school.  I did so well as an undergrad.  I know that much more is expected of students in graduate school, but how could I be that bad?

I ended up in a short email exchange with the professor.  She said that this was no time to be doubting my ability to earn a Master’s degree.  My application would never have been accepted if the committee didn’t think I could do it.  I felt a little better, but I need to rewrite the paper.  How am I going to find time to do that when I am supposed to be focusing on research for the final paper due by December 23rd?  I also have two more papers to do research on and write for another course I am taking.  To me I did answer the questions asked and I need clarification on what is meant by my paper being too casual.  I had to read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, along with several critical essays by different scholars.  My paper had to prove that I read all the material, understand what the authors are saying, how all the reading material connects, and how it applies to my area of study for my degree.   The assigned reading was difficult, but I got through it.

It doesn’t help that I am working a full-time job.  I am thankful for having a great source of income, but it is swallowing up valuable study time.  I really wanted to submit my paper to smart thinking first to have someone review it, but I barely had time to submit it to the professor.  The professor for my other course is very nice and very intelligent, but is too serious and seems to have no sense of humor.  I did get a B on the first paper that I submitted to her, but she picked it apart which also left me wondering if I am cut out for this.  I am used to getting A’s and high praise for my school papers.

ESCU graduation program - Copy

I must remember this and then breath in and out slowly.

Students today no longer have to spend time trying to cite sources correctly.  Between the school library, Google Scholar and Microsoft Word 2013 all you have to do is copy and paste the required form you need (MLA, APA, Chicago).  Yet so many times the instructor will tell me its wrong.  This happened quite a few times while I was an undergraduate too.   Seriously???  I am copying and pasting from scholarly sources exactly and they are telling me it’s wrong?   What the freak?

The bottom line is that I desire greatly to receive a final grade of B or above, and nothing less will be acceptable to me.  The two courses that I am taking are required courses so they are crucial.  This morning I will be having a phone conversation with the too serious professor to discuss my first paper and the one I will be working on all day today since I am off from work.  I have to write a paper on the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin (pronounced show-pan).  I have to apply theory to it.  I decided to take a historical approach.  I read the book last week and it is beautifully written.  I understand the challenges that Edna Pontellier faced during the turn of the century, especially in New Orleans Creole society, but I am not particularly fond of the character.   I think that Edna must have been suffering from some form of depression since she was a child.

Now for some other random stuff.  As I said above I am very thankful for a job that earns me a good income.  So many people are still out of work since the bubble burst in 2008.  While I was attending a three-day Residency last month that was required for all graduate students I met a woman who has been unemployed for several years now.  She had to move in with her daughter, so when I meet people in this situation I am doubly thankful for my job.  I just wish that I did not have to work and could devote each day to my studies like I did when I first returned to school in 2013.  It can really be a drag when you just want to focus on school and not have to go to work.

I loved my job when I started one year and four months ago.  Now I don’t love it, but I do like it.  It is still a great place to work, but I am fed up with being treated like an idiot.  My immediate supervisor treats me as if I am entry-level in my position when in fact I came there with 26 years under my belt.  That is the reason I was hired, but after I started working there I began to be treated like I don’t know anything.  My immediate supervisor will say things to me as if I don’t already know because it is simple common sense.  She is also acts very intimidated when anything new is being implemented, such as the new Payroll/HRIS system that is going live on January 1st, and she projects her anxiety onto others.  I am not intimidated by any system and I have been through system conversions quite a few times in the past with other companies.  My immediate supervisor behaves as if the system will blow up and the world will end if you make a wrong move.  Seriously?  How about chilling out and relaxing.  It really is not that serious.  Anyway, this new system is great, but since it will be cutting out much of the work that we do now manually it screams future downsizing.  Hence one of the reasons I decided to go forward with graduate school.

On the home front I have been spending quite a bit of money in order to get my house together just the way I like it.  The style that truly reflects me is bohemian with a bit of shabby chic thrown in.  I cannot take the full thrust of shabby chic over years.  After a while it gets to me. The all white and pale colors everywhere I turned began to look cold.  It is also restrictive regarding bringing in any colors that are not very pale.  I love mahogany colored furniture because it warms up the spaces.  I also purchased gorgeous tapestry from sellers in India on Etsy.  The tapestries really pop and brings in stunning beauty.

Well, off I go now to have breakfast and start writing my paper on The Awakening.   You enjoy this great day as we honor our veterans.


This entry was posted in Xenia.


  1. Xenia says:

    Your statement about most undergrad’s not caring is something that I came to realize when I was an undergrad. It explained why more than a few of my instructions were so happy when they realized that I was actually reading the course materials. It was one of the reasons I was writing such great papers and receiving A’s left and right. Another common occurrence is the number of students who drop courses each semester . I had no idea how prevalent that is. I never dropped a course. I was very serious about school and determined to graduate. Dropping any of my courses never entered my mind. However, it certainly entered the minds of my classmates. By the end of the first month after each semester began I noticed the amount of students listed in the online classroom dropped, sometimes significantly.

    You are definitely on the money when you say that graduate school is a whole differently animal. I feel as if I was let into an exclusive club, and now I have to prove that I deserve to stay. It is humbling to think that I am a budding scholar. As doubly challenging as graduate school is though, I am enjoying the journey because I realize that I worked hard, earned and deserve to be a part of the graduate school community.

  2. Servetus says:

    Grad school is a whole different animal. I felt that way at the beginning, too. I had been warned. In undergrad if you do well you’re a pleasure to the professor, because most students are not doing so well, and you’re kind of surprising if you care, because most undergrads don’t. So you get a lot of points just for those things. Then you get into grad school and everyone is smart, everyone does well; everyone cares — and it’s about mastering a specific discipline and skills as opposed to just showing that you have learned something. I loved undergrad and was miserable the first year of grad. It does get better, though, if you stick with it.

Leave a Reply