Me, a Scholar?

I finally made that leap to start my Master’s Degree. I’ve talked about it for over a year now, even looked up some potential schools that offered online classes during that time. Did you know Arkansas University has online Master’s Degree programs in Education? My jaw hit the floor. I mean, a university in Arkansas AND it has graduate level classes online.  

**Twilight Zone Theme**

*waves* Hi, Dad! *sheepish grin*

See, I get way too bored in brick and mortar schools, so I just had to find an online program. Some assignments I prefer to knock out right away, but often times those come much later in the course. Online, not a problem, skip ahead and “Skip to My Lou” – done. I completed two week two assignments and one week five assignment before I even got to the end of week one. Butt in the seat class, that’s just not happening.

Decision finally made, I enrolled in a school that I thought was right for me because it offered a degree program that would compliment my Bachelor’s degree allowing me to move forward in my career choice, whether I stay with teaching or move over to writing fulltime.

Up until Saturday night’s assignment, everything had been moving along just peachy, even though I hadn’t yet received my books. (Got them Friday.) It’s the first week, so it’s supposed to be a bit of a cakewalk, right? I’ve been there done that with dozens of online undergraduate and professional knowledge classes. But the assignment at the end of the week, the one that would garner the lion’s share of my weekly grade, threw me for an astronomical loop.

“Analyze, in a scholarly but personalized discussion, your personal beliefs regarding the teaching of character through the curriculum. Write no more than two pages, APA format and style. Be sure to cite your sources and list your references in proper APA style.

Uh-huh!

Okay, you did read that, right?

Scholarly.

Personalized.

Discussion.

Two pages.

Seriously, just two? You do realize that APA style dictates the body of the piece be double spaced, right? That’s like, what, less than 800 words? That could even be less than 500 words depending on the expanse of your vocabulary and the mean length of your words. Mine ended up coming in, not counting the Title and References pages, at 683 words. That’s brief! For me, come on, admit it, that’s pretty good. And that was EXACTLY two double-spaced pages, not even a tiny bit of space left before the margin edge, I’ll have you know. Thank goodness APA format says one-inch margins all around!

Discussion. Okay, write it in first person, no problem. Write like you are talking to someone. Got it. I do that on this blog, most of the time anyway.

Personalized. Bring yourself to the table, put you and your experiences into your writing. Oh I can do that all right! If you’ve read my blog for very long you’ll know that it’s all about me, innit?

SCHOLARLY? Ugh! Scholars are boring. *pouting* A scholar’s wit is “as dry as the pages of the books to which [they] so desperately cleave.” – Sybill Trelawney (Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, 1999.)

You see what I had to do just there? I had to properly, by APA format, cite the quote I was using to make a point about how dull this kind of writing is for me to read. This is still probably wrong, (as may be subsequent citations) but I wasn’t about to set up a Bibliography for a blog post. I mean, come on! Scholars can and do just that—some even in their sleep! But I’m no scholar.

Don’t alert the APA grammar police, but I don’t have the page number from the book on that citation. I do not have the time to go trawling through a very thick book I haven’t read in far too many years just to find that one little piece of that one little quote. I remembered the quote vaguely and then used my newly learned google-fu skills (I’m still only a white belt.) to find the exact wording. Even the citation was online, without the page number I might add. (OH! Should I cite the website too? Nah! Let it go, girl, let it go.)

That wasn’t the worst part though, the citations I mean. Word is a very clever program and if I type all the information about my source(s) into this little box, it will not only plug the specific citation into my text in proper APA style wherever needed, but also populate a Bibliography for me as well, again in APA format.

 No, the worst part for me was making a personalized discussion that was also scholarly. “Just the facts, ma’am.” (Webb, Jack. Dragnet. Sergeant Joe Friday, 1967 – 1970.) I can report the facts, but they aren’t very interesting. I prefer to “tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in [my] eye” (Henley, Don. (1985) Dirty Laundry. Selected Works 1972-1999.) Injecting levity into my writing is a part of who I am as a writer. The audience in my head laughs hysterically at my written wit, thus I am spurred on to continue to write in this style. I don’t want to write like a scholar.

*stomps foot*

*deep breath and loud exhale*

A writer friend of mine said he thought that my romance novel draft (the four chapters he read) was written very scholarly. No way, bud! My romance novel (sshh! Teachers aren’t allowed to have romance, let alone write about it! Don’t tell, okay?) is written in an all-over-body gooey feeling style. There’s nothing stuffy, dusty, or ancient propriety about it! He also said humorous writing wasn’t his forte. Could’ve fooled me judging by his emails. Perhaps we don’t see our own strengths and weaknesses as writers. Perhaps my novel isn’t as touchy feely as I intended it to be. Maybe my blog isn’t as funny as the comic in me wants it to be. Maybe I can *gag* or even do *cough* write like a scholar.

Alas, Alack, For seuth, and all those other high brow exclamations of woe.

I wrote my reflection, toning down as much of my levity as possible while still remaining true to my own authorship. I won’t know for a couple of days yet what grade I received. Perhaps my professor will leave a positive comment. I’m hoping she gets my jokes, think them funny, and find them appropriately used in the constructs of my assignments.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Naomi Baltuck
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 18:18:44

    Good luck!

    Reply

  2. TheOthers1
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 23:31:34

    I echo the good luck. Also the version of apa I learned says you don’t have to have page, but it maybe an old version I’m pulling my understanding from.

    Reply

    • makergoddess
      Jan 28, 2013 @ 05:46:23

      Thanks, CC, for the warm wishes.

      The online class has a tutorial for APA format/style and includes a separate reference page. I wish I had your APA book instead. That would be one less page to worry about! LOL

      Reply

      • TheOthers1
        Jan 28, 2013 @ 08:06:04

        Page numbers! That word was lost in my furious typing. No page numbers on intext citations. Lol

      • makergoddess
        Jan 28, 2013 @ 11:31:14

        LOL I tell my students when I flub a word, leave one out, ect. when teaching them it’s because my brain is flying too fast for my mouth to keep up.
        They like it and sometimes ask me, “Are you having another brain flying moment.” Second graders asking this! LOL

  3. songofjoy
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 10:42:59

    I am taking a master course through Concordia University in Portland. I ran upon your blog because I am required to “Analyze, in a scholarly but personalized discussion, your personal beliefs regarding the teaching of character through the curriculum. Write no more than two pages, APA format and style. Be sure to cite your sources and list your references in proper APA style.” I Googled it. I had no idea what scholarly and personal meant. Imagine my surprise. Do we possibly have the same professor, is someone plagiarizing another. What gives?

    Reply

    • makergoddess
      Feb 14, 2014 @ 11:55:40

      Hello!

      I had that course, EDGR 502, a year ago, so if you’re in it now I don’t think we have the same professor. They do have many different professors to teach each of the courses, I believe.

      For me, personal and scholarly are completely juxtaposed, but as I’ve continued with this program I have found that what they want is for you to give an example from your personal life that relates to the assignment. Keep it scholarly by having cited evidence to back up your argument though.

      I’m expecting to be graduating the program in June this year. It gets better. Soon it will all make sense to you, if it doesn’t now, why they have us going through the courses in this particular order. The wording of the questions will be less incomprehensible as you plod through.

      Reply

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