Can I Graduate Now?

What I wrote in my paper proposal:

The answers to these questions will serve to further our knowledge of Jack London and his particular interpretation of Darwinism, as portrayed in The Sea Wolf. They will also enhance our understanding and appreciation of London’s novel as a carefully constructed social statement, as well as an excellent seafaring tale.

What I wanted to write in my paper proposal:

The fate of the known universe is at stake, and this paper will make everything finally okay. The prose shall be so luminous, the insights so great and so witty, that even AIDS patients will have but to look on it to be cured. I will not only answer questions about The Sea Wolf and Charles Darwin, but solve humanity’s oldest puzzles, about the universe and our place in it. You will have to invent a new grade to give this paper, because even A+++ will not cover it. Read it out loud, and prepare to hear birds fall from the trees, stunned by my magnificent observations and conclusions. Watch in amazement as the very face of all scholarship will be changed forever. And make sure that you have a box of kleenex available when you reach my momentous, unexpected, and wholly stirring conclusions.

Or, alternatively:

Let’s be realistic: absolutely nothing is at stake here. I am going to expend a great deal of effort writing a paper that will be read by one person. My analysis will be thorough but utterly boring. My conclusions will be unsurprising. I will soon forget what I said, and so will you. I will receive a grade that is decent: neither abysmal nor spectacular. My graded paper will be relegated to a folder in my room with dozens just like it, where it will remain, unread, in perpetuity. And by and by I will graduate, and as my essay gathers dust, so will my memories of this place, where I learned a great many things that will probably make no discernible difference to my future life. Now please excuse me while I go shrivel up.

Le sigh.

8 thoughts on “Can I Graduate Now?

  1. Hilarious! Doesn't it just depress you to no end to know that only ONE person will read your paper? Maybe that's a website idea … post your paper here and maybe, just maybe, more people will read it. Of course, it's much more likely that more people would just plagiarize it … maybe it's not a good website idea.Kristen M.’s latest blog post:“The Italian lunged forward.”


  2. Hmm, maybe not. I actually looked into one of those buy/sell essay sites once — there are some where you seem to be able to legitimately make some cash if your papers are downloaded. But then I thought about it and decided that it just wasn't ethical. So I went back to my original financial plan: selling crack to babies.


  3. heh… that's a great financial plan! I will steal it and use it for myself!Yeah… I thought about using one of those “buy/sell essays” websites because I didn't want to write a really boring 4-page description paper, but then I thought about it and realized it wasn't really worth the hassle – it's just too easy for teachers to be able to tell if you're plagerizing or not anymore!Curse you, Internet! You are a foil to all my plans!!!


  4. I've actually posted a lot of the stuff I'd written for college on my blog. Your imagined paper proposal is so funny! It reminds me of a story I read about guy wrote a college admissions essay about how incredibly, unbelievably great he was (i.e. “I am an Expert in Stucco, a Veteran in Love, and an Outlaw in Peru.”) It said at the end that he was accepted.EL Fay’s latest blog post:Book Just Added!


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