Honors American Literature

For me, honors american literature ended up being of the hardest if not the hardest class I ever took in my academic career, for one very specific reason: the professor. He was, without a doubt my least favorite teacher I had ever had. I disagreed with him on almost everything, I found him mean spirited, his teaching style overly aggressive, and his work load for the class more then what should be considered reasonable for a three credit hour class. However it was also because of him that I learned what I consider to be one of the most important skills I have ever learned.

I remember getting back the first paper I had written for the class, for any college class actually, and being absolutely petrified. 45 percent.

45 percent!

I had lost five percent of those points on forgetting to capitalize two words in the honor code statement (which was required at the start of every paper), a mistake that I at the time considered to be so minor that I didn’t consider it to be worth even a single point off, let alone half a letter grade. The other 50 percent I had managed to lose on my citations being in a error riddled format.

Horrified over what this could possibly mean for my grade for the class, I went and talked to the professor. He agreed to let me rewrite the paper, with the stipulation that this would be a one time opportunity and that from that point forward I would need to get things right on my first try. Overjoyed with this new found hope, I set to work on the rewrite, starting over from scratch to purify my new paper of any of the stained F grade from my previous try (probably a mistake in hindsight). I then proceeded to set aside more time for this paper then I had ever done before, working night after night in the library to make sure I got this one right. Then feeling confident in the knowledge that this second paper was massively better than my first, I turned in my finished product knowing I could rest easy.

50 percent.

I had gained five points back on my paper, for capitalizing the two letters in the honor code statement required at the start of every paper. He had failed me not one, but two of my papers. All without fully reading a single body paragraph to either of them. It was at this point that I realized that if I was going to pass the class, that I would need to elevate my writing skill to a new a level. That the work I had been producing before, was simply no longer good enough, that the demands of the professor were much higher than anything I had ever faced before.

The next few months saw me work harder in the class then I had ever done before for any other class. Staying up late into the night to make sure my work was up to par, Scrambling to make sure everything I turned in was the absolute best that it could be. All this while the professor behaved in the most unreasonable ways. Weather it was him adding extra required content to a paper the day before it was due, or him berating a student for their work not being good enough in front of the whole class, or him telling the whole class that he was going to try as hard his could to trip them up and get them to fail, or that he doubted any of us could pass his midterm, the professor seemed dead set on making the class as miserable an experience as possible.

After seemed an eternity to me, the class finally ended, and I had managed to escape with a B, a feat I was sure I would never be able to achieve. But at last the class was over and I had passed, however, I was left with what I considered to be an important experience: having to work with some I did not like.

In the workforce, you don’t get to choose your coworkers, or your bosses, you get what you get. Often times meaning you may be stuck with someone you don’t like at all. Yet it is of critical importance that you are able to work in a professional, polite manner with this individual, otherwise you jeopardize not just your standing in the workplace, but also your career itself.. This class had prepared me for that exact scenario. The class of course also taught me how to raise my work standards, how to better improve my writing and about a wide assortment of classical american literature. However it is undoubtedly the skill I learned that is the most valuable thing I gained from the course, since it is applicable to almost any job and is something that I will likely end up having to use again. 

Attached here is the paper I wrote for the second essay assignment. It’s importance here is to emphasize how after the failure of the first two attempts  of mine at writing an essay for the class, I was able to not only recognize the problems in earlier attempts, but also act upon them. Ultimately earning a B on the assignment. A vast improvement over of my previous works.