Starting A New Trope

, , , , , | Learning | October 15, 2018

(During university, I work as a student assistant in my major department. We have one professor who has a particular list of instructions for tropes, etc., that he does NOT want his students to include in any of their final papers. He is tired of reading them and tries to encourage students to think outside the box. Luckily, he doesn’t dock points for using items on the list; he understands his isn’t the only class they take and with four or five final papers to do, students will sometimes rush and just try to fill in the word count. The number one item on the list is:)

Trope #1: “NO opening any paragraphs with dictionary definitions. (Example: The dictionary defines “courage” as…)”

(At the end of the semester, I am collecting final papers for one of his classes. Most students are choosing to turn them in electronically, but there are still a handful of people who insist on turning in hard copies. So, I set up office hours at the student assistant desk to collect them. At the very last minute, a girl comes running up to my desk and practically throws her paper at me.)

Student: “There! I made it!” *tosses her hair back* “I’d better get an A+ on that thing. I didn’t even want to take this stupid class, but my advisor said I had to.”

Me: “Uh-huh… Well, I’m glad you made it by the deadline.”

Student: “I mean it! I included everything he asked for.”

Me: *starting to pack up* “Well, I’m sure it will be fine… Wait. ‘Everything he asked for’?”

Student: “Yeah, on that dumb list he kept pushing at us.”

(I glanced down at her paper, which happened to be on top of the stack I was about to put in a folder, and the opening paragraph began with, “The dictionary defines courage as…” Her topic didn’t even have anything to do with courage. I started to tell the student her mistake, but she’d already walked away. I flipped through the rest of her paper, and it was filled with every single trope the professor didn’t want to see. I warned the professor about what had happened, and he actually found it pretty funny. I have no idea what that girl’s reaction was when she found out what she’d done, but I bet it was interesting. It’s not like the list was vague; it was filled with the words “NO,” “DON’T,” and, “DO NOT USE,” underlined in all caps.)

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