kis·met \ˈkiz-ˌmet, -mət\ - noun; often capitalized
1. fate.
"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language.
That may be the measure of our lives." - Toni Morrison

"Growing up Southern is a privilege, really. It's more than where you're born; it's an idea and state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, football, and country music. It’s being hospitable, devoted to front porches, magnolias, moon pies, coca-cola... and each other. We don't become Southern - we're born that way." - Unknown

08 March 2010

writing is comes a rant

I am consistently dumb-founded by the sheer number of people attending college who don't know how to write. And I mean really don't know how to write. It really is astounding. I wish I had some of their writing attempts to share with you; you wouldn't believe the level (or lack thereof) of writing ability. One might think that if bombarded enough with such terrible writing, one would get used to seeing it. Nope. I am flabbergasted every single time. Even in my English classes, where people are supposed to know how to write, they don't. It's completely mind-blowing. Now, maybe I just had excellent English teachers growing up, and perhaps I just have a knack for writing, but some things seem like common sense, especially if you've made it into college.

I proofread a lot of papers for people because I consider myself a good writer. I enjoy it. I am good at catching mistakes and helping people achieve more cohesion in their writing. Recently, I proofread a paper for someone, and if that paper had simply been handed to me with no prior knowledge that the writer was a currently enrolled college student, I would have placed the paper at about a 7th or 8th grade writing level. It was really something. There were blatant grammatical errors all over the place. Wrong words were used. e.g. 'than' when it should have been 'then'. Cringe-worthy stuff like that. Sentences didn't make sense. The order of sentences didn't make sense. Paragraphs didn't make sense. There was no cohesiveness in the essay at all. It was basically a poorly written, jumbled mess of thoughts and run-ons that didn't fit together at all. After I tried my best to fix whatever I could (I don't know how many of you have tried to proofread a paper like that, but it's extremely difficult. There's not really much you can do with it except tell the person to throw it all away and start over.) Anyway, after that I pulled up a paper that I wrote in the 8th grade about Oskar Schindler. (I save all of the papers I write). I read through my little middle school essay, and found that it was worlds better than the essay I just proofread from a college student. There's definitely something wrong with this situation.

In the end, after I semi got over the shock of such a paper from a college student, I couldn't help but feel so incredibly sorry for those people. How are they going to succeed in life if they can't write? I'm sorry, but every single job requires you,
at some point, to write on some intelligible level. Do they just not realize how poorly they write? Are they aware? Should someone tell them? Enroll them in a basic writing class? Something needs to be done, though I'm not quite sure what.


xoxoKrysten said...

I went to a high school where we had a great English department - but I still find it absolutely bizarre when I get a paper back from a professor and they've written, "Very well written." I never realized that I was decent at writing until I found myself being compared to OTHER students. Kind of sad really.

lotusgirl said...

yep. It always shocked me how few people were well read in college. I had read more in one summer than many of them had read their whole lives.

As for the writing, you are a good writer. It would be interesting to see what the professors say. I wonder if it's worse now than it used to be.

Sterling said...

The solution for this problem can be found strapped to the head of a monkey in the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". The head band is connected to a translating device that changes monkey thought into English. A secretary would be in order to take the dictation.

When this language bridge was placed on the dad's head, in the movie, he could at last say the things he wanted to say to his son in a way his son could understand.

I've found that watching movies can solve many problems. Watching movies may help with other things as well. I bet there is a movie about how to write more better.

Karen said...

Your dad is strange! hahaha