By Mannan Mehta '18
It’s the night before the essay is due, and you’ve realized that the one sentence you have written needs to become 800 words by 8 AM, which is about 8 hours from now. In between lots of phone breaks, slapping yourself to stay awake, and in the end only getting about 3 hours of sleep, you somehow manage to get it done. You walk in the next day and turn it in, proud of yourself for writing something that makes sense, in modern, written English, given the circumstances.
Your end of the bargain has been completed, and it is now time for the teacher to hold up theirs. When they get around to it, they will surely tear into it, reading not only every line, but also every in between, to make sure you used every word to its full potential. But the emphasis is on when. When will they get around to it? It’s going to be a while.
The suspense is probably the worst part. At first, you have flaming confidence in your writing ability. You feel as if you essay is indestructible, even by the harshest of graders. You think that nothing could ever stop you, and that your work is going to be used as a sample essay for students to come. Week one goes by, and someone dares to ask the teacher, “When can we expect to get our papers back?” The answer they get? “I haven’t had time to start grading them yet, but once I do, expect to get them back in a week.” Okay, you say. That’s fair enough.
As week two slowly chips away, you decide you would like to go back and read the essay again with fresh eyes. As you scroll through it however, you notice a place where a comma should have gone. You may have formatted that quotation incorrectly. Or should that have been a block quote. Who knows? But you have faith in your content and you can leave it alone. The teacher, sensing the yearning of the students to get their essays back, says, “I have done about half, for the most part they look great! I should be done by Monday.” So you leave it alone, and now have the weekend to worry.
Going back on the document to quell your boredom Saturday afternoon, you read your essay closer. Yes, there is an issue with the tense that you didn’t notice before. But you still have faith in your content, and the teacher for being able to pick the bad parts out from the good. Monday comes by, and you are almost sweating with anticipation. Until you are hit with the news. “I am so sorry guys, I found myself very busy this weekend and I have a few more to go through.” So you trudge home, dejected, and wait one more day.
Another week goes by, almost two. At this point, your mind has moved on to better things. You have taken 4 tests, and gotten every single one back, with stellar results. You show up for English class, and just when you’ve completely forgotten, the teacher goes, “I have your essays, I will return them at the end of class.” Suddenly, you are put back on edge. The entire class, you can’t think of anything else. You watch every minute pass on the clock, certain that you will have grey hair before you get the essay back. But the teacher finally finishes a few minutes early, and begins to hand out the essay. You get yours back and you open it.
This is where you insert yourself. Everyone has their stellar results and their not so stellar ones. You win some, you lose some, but however you did on that paper, it’s okay. The point is, it will always take a long time to get them back. But really, teachers are busy people, and you can wait. Yes it sucks, I agree, but you will live. Do your best not to overthink what you have submitted, and if you are seriously worried you can always go have a conversation with the teacher about it after your work is returned. And make an effort to start your essay a few nights before it’s due. Please.