Getting To The Heart Of The Story

, , , , | Related | February 12, 2018

(As part of my advanced English course, I am writing a short story. I turn to my father for tips and advice; he is fluent in English and an avid writer himself.)

Father: “I like it, but your main hero is too perfect. Believable characters need some flaws.”

Me: “He is not perfect. He suffers from extremely fragile bones and is in constant pain.”

Father: “Uh… What was his name again?”

Me: “Sydney Hart.”

Father: *perfectly calm* “So… Your story is basically about achy, breaky Hart?”

Me: *long pause* “Okay, Percy Hamish it is. Also, I hate you, Dad.”

Father: “You are welcome, honey.”

They’re Just Explaining Biology

, , , , , | Related | December 12, 2017

(My mom is helping me study for an AP biology test. We’re doing some Punnett square examples in the textbook.)

Me: “So, does it matter if the mother or father goes on top?”

Mom: “For sex? It depends. With me and your father, he goes on top because I weigh more. But with your aunt and uncle, I think she probably goes on top, because he weighs more.”

Me: *almost too horrified to speak* “I meant on the square. I think I’ll go study alone.”

A Story With A Happy Ending

, , , , | Learning | October 9, 2017

(I am in fifth grade, and I’ve always loved writing fiction stories. My teacher presents us with two projects: First, we have to write a realistic fiction story for language arts, and second, we have to give a report on the Holocaust for social studies. I go up to the teacher and ask if I can write a story for the social studies project, rather than do a report, and she says yes. I am ecstatic, as a report sounds like a lot of boring, pointless work. About a month later, we turn in both projects. The following occurs as I hand in my Holocaust story:)

Teacher: “[My Name], this isn’t the report I asked for. You didn’t do the work?”

Me: “Um… you said I could write a story instead of the report.”

Teacher: “No, I never said that. When did that happen?”

Me: “Th-the day you told us about the project, I asked if I could write a story instead, and you said yes.”

Teacher: “No, I said you could write a story about the Holocaust for your realistic fiction story. You still had to do the report.”

Me: “Oh.”

(I am feeling extremely nervous, as I am very shy, and I am terrified I am going to fail the project.)

Teacher: “All right, just sit down for now.”

(The rest of class seems to go by smoothly, allowing me to forget the incident ever occurred, until…)

Teacher: “[My Name], come up here for a second.”

(I go up to her desk.)

Teacher: “I read through the story. Are you sure you wrote it?”

Me: “Yes?”

Teacher: “This work doesn’t look like a fifth-grader’s writing. Are you sure you didn’t copy it from somewhere?”

Me: “No! I wrote all of it. I didn’t copy or anything.”

Teacher: “Okay, because if you did, that’s plagiarism. You can get in huge trouble for that.”

Me: “I know. I didn’t copy anything.”

Teacher: “Well…” *she flips through it a bit* “This is really amazing writing. I know you weren’t supposed to write a story, but I’ll accept it this time. Just know you have to be more careful next year in middle school, since the teachers there won’t do something like this, understand?”

Me: “Okay.”

(I managed not to fail the project, but had to write an essay with the other kids who didn’t do the report about why I didn’t do it and such. I found it completely pointless and never actually turned it in. The kicker? The next year, in sixth grade, I turned in a short story instead of a science report and received an A for creativity.)

There’s A Lot A Motto With This Family

, , , , , | Related | September 12, 2017

(My dad is going over missed vocabulary words with my nine-year-old brother. My sisters and I are sitting nearby, being oh-so-helpful.)

Dad: “What’s a sermon?”

Sister #1: “A really long boring thing Mom makes us listen to on Sundays.”

Brother: *gives definition*

Dad: “Okay, what’s a conspiracy?”

Sister #2: “Aliens built the pyramids.”

Sister #3: “No, it’s Bigfoot was the reason for earthquakes!”

Brother: *gives definition*

Dad: “What’s a motto?”

Me: “Nothing, what’s a motto with you?!”

Brother: *cracks up*

Sisters: *singing* “It means no worries, for the rest of your daaaaaays!”

Dad: “I really should have known better on that one.”

Me: “Hakuna.”

Sisters: “Matata.”

Me: “Hakuna.”

Sisters: “Matata.”

Brother: “Hakuuuu-uuuuuuna Matata.” *pause* “I don’t know what a motto is.”

Luck Is Not On The Syllabus

, , , , , | Learning | September 11, 2017

My second year of college, I was in a lecture-style class with about 90 students. Our professor was known to be extremely strict about late work. She blatantly refused to accept an email submission of any papers, and the only time she allowed us to turn in our printed papers late was if the university as a whole was shut down for some reason at the time the paper was due. (We were in Minnesota, so unexpected snow and winter weather closings were a thing).

One time, our professor ended up cancelling class the night before a major paper was due, because of some sort of minor emergency in her own life. I had another class in the same building right before her class, so since I already had my paper ready to hand in, I ended up leaving it in her office mailbox after my first class, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a few extra days.

The next class, when most of the other students tried to turn their papers in – our professor refused to accept them. Several students tried to complain to the department dean about it, but the dean pointed out the fact that, in our professor’s syllabus, she had written something like, “If I [Professor] am unable to hold class for any reason, and the university is open, all papers should be left either in my office mailbox or with the department secretary, to be collected by me when I return to campus.”

Moral of the story: pay attention to the syllabus that your professors print out for class! In my case, I was just extremely lucky, because I had only ever skimmed through the syllabus before this incident, but even I will acknowledge that luck can only get you so far.

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