I assign a fair bit of writing in my courses, but because it’s all about biology, the papers I get back might be full of cryptic words like mek and src and neoplasia, but they tend to have a straightforward narrative and avoid ambiguity…and since I’m at a good liberal arts college, most of the students are competent writers. But then every once in a while I get a glimpse from my colleagues of the world outside my mechanistic and straightforward world, and I feel a small thrill of horror. You should read the whole student essay, but here’s the concluding paragraph.
Because knowing what it knows now, it will never know peace. It will only know humiliation. For there are no limits on the number of Grade Change forms I can request, or if there are, I plan to collect them like an ignorant naturalist on a well-trodden shore and submit them in perpetuity.
Yeesh. The tortured syntax, the ambiguous referents, the vague threat of drowning the poor victim in paperwork…I do not want to live in that universe.
But still, this one is still the all-time champion worst.