Life in Academia

EDIT: So the temperature is dropping pretty much every ten minutes or so. I’m a little nervous about these storm systems.

So yesterday I had to go to my bi-monthly tutor’s meeting, and we ended up going to the Tomato Head for lunch. For all of you deprived souls who don’t have a Tomato Head (and I think that would be all of you who don’t live in Knoxville since I think it’s a local place), it is one of the yummiest sandwich places I’ve ever been to. They also have pizzas and calzones and salads and an extensive dessert menu (which I didn’t touch! go me!), and we had a fun time. It definitely was better than meeting in stuffy McClung Tower.

Anyway, my point of all this exposition is to tell you this incredibly humorous experience one of my colleagues had in the writing center. This guy came in with a paper for his botany class, and he said the assignment was to “write about any subject related to botany.” Talk about broad, and there was no way to know if in fact that was the assignment because he didn’t have the prompt, so my friend just asked him what he’d decided on. His topic? Plants in the Bible. I kid you not. So she did all she could to suppress a groan and read his paper. He started out talking about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and how there’s a debate about what kind of tree it is because despite popular opinion that it’s an apple tree, the Bible doesn’t in fact specify this (he is right on that point). So he said you couldn’t say for sure it was an apple that Eve ate. Then he talked about Moses and the burning bush. He said that 80 years ago this would have seemed astounding, but now, knowing what we know about forest fires, it’s not quite so astounding, since plants can in fact catch fire but not be consumed. (Where he got the “80 year” benchmark from, I have no idea.) Then he talked about grapes and how they used them to make their wine and thus it was different from what we consider wine. He said it wasn’t as potent and that they didn’t have other things to drink, like “sodas and sports drinks.” Those were his exact words, so apparently he thinks they did have iced tea and frappes? The whole paper was like this, and I’m just glad it wasn’t me reading it because I was laughing so hard when my friend was talking about it that it would have been hard to seriously help the poor guy. I appreciate his desire to incorporate the Bible into academics, but he was stretching it just a bit, and I don’t know that his professor would even consider it to be a paper about botany.

Working in the writing center is nothing if not endlessly amusing. I had a guy come in this week who wanted to know if he needed to have a thesis statement for his paper. I thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t. He said he was confused about that because then he’d have to make every sentence in his paper relate to his thesis, and I told him that’s kind of the point. Then I asked him to see what he’d written, and he hadn’t actually written anything, nor had he even picked a topic! Bless his heart. Oh, and the title of one girl’s paper from my 102 class: “The Evolution of Photography During the Holocaust, Along with Other Art as Well.” She just wanted to make sure she covered all her bases.

Tell me your thoughts! I'd love to read them.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s