Thursday, March 19, 2009

An' it ain't just Flintheart Glomgold essays, neither!

There is a funny yet appalling article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about essay mills. The paper version includes awesome Actual Quotes from students requesting papers, such as:

"I am a junior for for my BSN, last paper I got from you i only received B- I would like to get higher than a b+ on this report." [sic sic sic sic sic!]


"English is my second language, so please trying to not use the high quality of grammer."


"I have five parts for my dissertation. The first part I would like to have done is Chapter (1) that includes: Introduction- the topic to be studied, definitions, significance of the study, overview of the sections of the dissertation."

and my favorite:

"I am planning to order my whole thesis. It is the first step for it. This is proposal for undergraduate thesis. My thesis topic is International development assistance in Mongolia. Sub title is USA, Japan, Russia approaches to Mongolia."

All I'm saying is, if your flippin' subtitle is illiterate, I think you've shot yourself in the foot from the start.

The idea of paying someone to write your dissertation blows my mind, of course--who the hell are you? What in gods' name are you doing in academia? But on reflection, I find that, although lazy asshole students do annoy me, no doubt, on the whole I sort of approve of this, actually. Look at this bit, about a professional Nigerian paper writer:

"Mr. Arhewe started writing for Essay Writers after another essay mill cheated him out of several hundred dollars. That incident notwithstanding, he's generally happy with the work and doesn't complain about the pay. He makes between $100 and $350 a month writing essays — not exactly a fortune, but in a country like Nigeria, where more than half the population lives on less than a dollar a day, it's not too bad either."

So some lazy asshole gets out of having to write an essay. What're you gonna do? Let's face it: the kind of person who patronizes a service like this isn't gonna be an academic superstar anyway. Given her/his attitude, s/he is very unlikely to learn anything even if s/he does do the writing. But on the other side of the equation, a guy from an impoverished country is making a nice living for himself that doesn't involve pretending to be a deposed potentate. Seems like a reasonable deal to me.


Blogger :-| pontificated to the effect that...

Yes indeed. Appalling is but a polite way of putting it. My version of walking to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways is back when I was writing papers for a grade, at the institution of higher learning level, they were penned long hand on legal pads until I went blind and cramped up. I would get my mom to type them up for me while I hovered behind her watching for edits on the fly. I got A's for my effort. I didn't have the electronic doodads then like these pampered airheads do today. I feel like I actually learned something. Ain't that the whole point of getting off one's ass and going to school in the first place?

4:51 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

That's theoretically the point of it, but for many kids today--probably most, sad to say--it's just something to do out of a kind of inertia: their parents did it, it's the socially accepted thing to do, and it (supposedly) helps you get a better job. What can one do?

12:28 AM  
Blogger :-| pontificated to the effect that...

Well for one thing I think public schools should screen graduating seniors more closely, weeding out the inertia laden student and encouraging techical school and/or public service careers, i.e. Peace Corps, etc. or if so inclined a stint in the military. The Coast Guard or Naval anti-piracy work comes to mind. A college degree does not come with secure job prospects. Just ask the Art History Doctorial candidate passing out fast food at "Five Guys Burgers and Fries" for $8.50 an hour. She knows.

For those students that don't like to read or concentrate on anything besides their raging hormones there's always truck driving, concrete finishing, lumberjacking, shrimping and crabing off Alaska, roofing in Texas in the summer or the Marine Corps. They're always looking for a few good men.

Either way, I would say to these kids, get an education while you can because 40 years from now as you nurse your failing body due to a life of heavy lifting, you might wish you had studied a little harder in school when you had the chance.

11:56 AM  

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