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It’s like deciding to go on a peaceful hike only to sprint up the mountain, ignoring the scenery. So, when they have to do it, they want to cut corners. Essay writing should be scary because you should be risking your beliefs. Writing academic essays to prepare for your job is like trying to learn how to be a master carpenter by The main struggle students have when they graduate is that most companies prioritize hiring people with experience.Academic essays fail because most people want to finish them as quickly as possible. And the easiest way to do that is to figure out what point you’re going to argue before you start. If an academic essay is an exploration into truth and you begin with not only knowing where you’re going but also knowing what you’ll experience along the way, then is it really an exploration? You can try telling your interviewer that you understand the job requirements in theory, but it’s far safer to hire someone with a track record of proven success. It’s only supposed to “open your mind.” But as Gary Vaynerchuk discusses in this video, if you want to open your mind, take a few months off and backpack through Europe.Then you go on to the next lesson, the next semester, the next course way before you’ve had time to analyze what you’ve discovered. After 8 years of study (high school and college), the result is that a vast population of people hate writing and joke about how worthlessly expensive a college education is over happy hour drinks that they struggle to afford. Some students leveraged existing work experience to pivot into new positions. I certainly don’t think it’s worth the investment because these programs typically don’t emphasize real-world skills.
What I’m talking about in this post is academic essay writing.
I’m talking about the full-on, boring, dated, stuffy, no conversational tone, MLA/APA formatted essays topped with a bibliography or works cited if you can remember which one is which, the ones we all had hammered into us from high school through to college.
More programs should emphasize practical knowledge. Instead, they focus on dated or useless material while forcing students to churn out stacks of essays in order to pass. For years I stood in front of my students and lied to them. In theory (like many things in academia) essays should be effective. My last year, I had everyone in my class share their essays with me on Google Drive right at the beginning.
Over and over again, I emphasized the importance of academic essay writing. Unfortunately, pragmaticism devours ideologies before breakfast. This meant that all 90-ish of my students shared the documents that would eventually turn into their essays with me.
Unlike previous years, I arrived in class knowing the results.
I knew procrastination was common, but seeing it happen in real time was unreal.
While time-consuming, it allowed them to understand the strengths and weaknesses in real time. We rush to finish assignments instead of taking the time to learn and explore. They’re not used to going on an intellectual journey and risking seeing the core of their most intimate beliefs challenged or changed.
After years of this, we begin to believe all of our ideas are simply “right.”You see this when you watch people grow up through school and graduate college as pretty much the same person when they arrived. If academic essays were effective, then they would lead us to keep an open mind while exploring new ideas. Instead, the entire format has been contorted into an immovable stencil of faux-learning that closes minds.
It wasn’t until later on that year when I started focusing more on alternatives to academic essay writing that I started seeing greater success with my students. State and district tests directly affect a teacher’s job security.
The few I had received only inspired a deeper feeling of failure with how far they missed the mark. Academic essays weren’t the only thing that pushed me out of the classroom and away from the kids, but they made up a significant chunk of it. Throngs of new teachers rush toward schools each year wanting to make a difference only to run away quickly. And you don’t need a study to point out that the lack of consistency is detrimental to student learning.