Perfect in my Mind

Perfect in my Mind

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wait until my blog hears about this . . .

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I've been like . . . wayy absent around these parts, lately.

Life got busy in a hurrrry.

But, there are some things I really need to get off my chest.

 First off:

I'm taking a creative non-fiction writing class right now.  I've always loved writing, and although writing is not something I necessarily want to pursue as a career, it is something that I want to be better at.

When I signed up for the class, I didn't expect for it to be a challenge.  I've taken so many essay-based courses through the years, I thought I had an "A" in the bag.  Turns out, I was wrong.  Right now, this elective class is the hardest class I'm taking this semester.  It's not the work or assignments I'm having trouble with . . . but the critique that comes a long with each paper. 

I started draft one of our fist big assignment a few weeks ago.  I took it to our in class workshop and it was fairly well received.  I made some adjustments to what I had written, called it "draft 2" and took it to our second in class workshop.  This time, my paper was fawned over.  Everyone who read what I wrote seemed emotionally invested in my piece, and I was soaring high.  I made a few improvements, called it "draft 3" and submitted my paper electronically to my teacher for her to edit.  When she sent the paper back to me, there was more red on my essay than black.  She completely tore it apart. Hated it.  

The nature of my project was deeply personal.  I wrote about the hardest time in my life.  I wrote things I've never said aloud.  I thought I had done the best I could.  But, Dr. Annonomous wanted everything to be different. 

I looked at my computer screen, and cried.  I felt defeated.  I had spent about thirty hours brainstorming, writing, revising, and coming up with visuals. And now, I was being counseled to change it all.

I guess I needed some humble pie? 

Well, that pie tasted like crap, but I think overall, I'm going to be a better person from this experience.  I really have a hard time with criticism.  I always have.  I think, in my head, I'm hard enough on myself--so when somebody tells me I'm bad at something, or I'm not doing something right, I take it very personally.  Maybe at 21 it's time for me to overcome this personal weakness.   

I was going to write a


But, this post is already freaking long.

Also.  I should probably be more positive next time.



Courtney B said...

I thought for sure you were announcing that you're pregnant... oops! Haha.
On a non funny note, I am so sorry Chels! I understand that criticism comes with the class, but when it's something so personal and TOUCH, the teacher should treat it as such. There are different ways to dish criticism and it should be done in the most respectful way possible. This probably will make you a better writer but I'm sorry you had to cry :(

Dolly said...

Chelsea-I know exactly where you're coming from, because this happened to me too, when I was in college in Tulsa. My mom is an author and English teacher...and I had never gotten anything less than an A- in my writing classes in school. Not because I'm great at structure-but because I have a different angle than most in essay writing. When I told my mom that I'd gotten a D- on the paper (written to the newspaper editor about abortion), she took me to the deans office. He agreed that the teacher had gone a little too far in criticizing my work. The teacher admitted that she had taken it personally and didn't want to hear my pro-life essay. I learned a lot from going through all that, and now nothing holds me back when I write. You should stand tall lady! I think you're great.

Sean Marie said...

That's great that you're taking a class. I'm sorry about the drama though. :/ Teachers can be douche bags.

Evan Becky said...

First off: I'm sorry this happened. It always sucks when you pour your life into something and someone just kicks it in the dust. And I missed you, but I understand that things do get busy quick, so do what you have to do, girl.

Secondly: Read this--
A friend sent it to me after I wrote a fairly negative post, had my heart ripped out by and anonymous commenter, then I wrote an apology. Don't apologize. This is your blog and you can write what you want here. The true followers will keep reading through the good and bad, celebrating with the good and comforting with the bad. <3

Nathan and Kristen said...

Oh Chelsea! A) I have missed your posts!! Seriously!! B) I swear I was going to write a post just like this the other day. I am the same way as you! I can't handle criticism very well at all and I take EVERYTHING personally. This has been the case with me and a certain psychology professor I'm about ready to punch in the face (all semester)She finds the need to write something on ALL of my papers even if I get 100% on it she will say "well..this could have been better" It seriously frustrates me so much!! It's gotten to the point where I write sarcastic snidely things back and I'm pretty sure she is determined to fail me now. haha. Big mistake. But anyway I adore you and I'm so sorry your paper was ripped apart. That must have really stung with such a personal topic. Love ya girl! You are entitled to vent!

Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

I love that you are taking a creative writing class! That is so cool!

Enter to win an iPhone case here!

Deveny said...

BOO to cranky professors! (at least you know everyone else loved it!) But I'm glad you're blogging again. :)

Deveny said...

And I totally second the Baby idea! lol

Alexis Kaye said...

Stupid teachers!! Did you read about how i had an anxiety attack and my teacher was like too bad get over it and i cried the whole test and i was extremely humiliated? This just proves one thing. Teachers have no hearts. That's a lie. I've had a lot that I really like. But maybe they're like the Grinch. Maybe they were just born withtheir heart two sizes too small? It's possible. But really, I'm so sorry! That sucks so bad! The worst part is probably that you were sharing something personal to begin with. I wish she had been more considerate to you, you deserve at least that much. Hope things get better :) love you friend!

Becca and Derek said...

Sorry love! I promise, not all teachers are that mean! Chin up! xoxo

Kylie said...

That would be terrible! I take criticism hard as well.... And that sounds totally destructive, and not at all constructive. Some professors have this high-horse complex and need to be brought down a notch or ten themselves. Don't let it get you down too much!

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Wow, that sounds so hard. But how great you have this opportunity to overcome it. Good luck!

Sara Shoemaker said...

I'm so sorry hun! what a rude teacher, they need to take into account how personal some of these assignments are and to not tear you apart. Balance criticism with consideration ya know? anyway, I hope the class gets better for you! have a splendid weekend!

Anonymous said...

Chelsea, I can't tell you how proud I am of you, dear daughter-in-law, for putting your heart and soul on the proverbial chopping block and risking getting them obliterated by a tough, unfair writing teacher. I have been there too. Just balance who you know you are with what degree of honesty and integrity you write and let the grades fall where they may. Integrity is a far more precious quality than acceptance. I would love to read your piece and I am sure it would be moving and merit a safe place in your best work yet.
I once had a college writing teacher embarrass me continually in front of a classfull of female students and I came to find out the ol' mare was a gilted old maid who despised young men. My papers looked like WWIII after crossing the mindfield of her desk. I got the lowest English grade of my life from her but I learned to be more accepting and benevolent to my future students because I never wanted, ever, to make a student feel as she had made me and other male students feel.

I sincerely think you are a very gifted young writer.

Dad Trunnell

Robin Cole said...

Ooo, I know who your prof is. I took a couple of classes from her, and I really think she likes a "style" and nothing will change her mind. I came out with A's and I really put in C effort. Almost everyone else was the opposite.

I ended up working for her as a UA for a year, and my best advice is to visit her during office hours. Find out if she's using a grader, although I don't think she would for an upper division. Ask for additional reading and discuss it with her. Grading is so subjective.

Anyway, I had two folders for her non-fiction course: "My copies" and "Prof copies". Prof copies has all of the edits she suggested for final drafts (as bizarre as they were). My copies are what I wanted. A class is a class, and it's easy to just hand in what she wants. You'll be stroking her ego, but you can still hold on to the drafts that are closer to your own voice. It's not as demoralizing that way.

Good luck! I'd be happy to look over any drafts and try to decipher the red for you! I know how intense a non-fiction course can be. You share a lot with people you're not sure you can trust, but it's super good therapy in the end.

katilda said...

oh those elective classes. the only C i ever got in college was in a genealogy class after i transferred to BYU....yep, i failed family history. in retrospect, i should have audited the class since i was taking it "just for fun," and i should have suspected that BYU didn't have classes "just for fun."

P! said...

Boy, oh boy, can I relate to this post! I've been absent from my blog because of school too and I'm taking some theatre classes, where I figured all I would have to do is show up since acting comes naturally to me usually. Anyway! For my acting class, we were supposed to prepare a monologue and perform it for the class. I wanted to be the best, so I worked really hard on memorizing it and trying to develop the character. Well, I got my grade back today and the teacher tore me apart; saying I completely missed the entire point of the scene and the character. Told me I should probably try and re-do it for a higher grade, but where do you go when you've already given it your best?? I feel ya, girl, I really do. :/ Good luck with the re-write. P.S. I've missed you- glad you're still popping in every once in awhile like me. :)