Final Papers and You: A question of tone

Ben Hur Rowing

Pictured: An Adjunct

 

Academic writing is notorious for being dry as a desert. We’ve all felt our eyes glaze over during a particular sentence in an assigned reading. Our pen hangs in the air, paralyzed by indecision. What do we underline? Everything? Nothing? What’s the important information here? Resigned to our defeat, we move on to the next sentence, hoping we haven’t strolled right past something significant.

This is the path that will lead to rereading until you realize that you don’t know dick about what the paper was trying to communicate. Now, imagine for a moment that you are a professor (or, to be truthful, a professor’s lowly squire). You’ve been assigned a whole stack of student papers to grade. In a fate crueler than any Lucifer could design, you must sift through a mound of stilted undergrad academic prose. Visions of banned stimulants dance in your head, then vanish. You begin to think fondly of the good old prehistoric days, when language consisted mostly of pointing, grunting, and screeching. What a world it was, untarnished by the verb “facilitate.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Academic writing doesn’t need to have its mailing address in its own rectum to communicate its points in a clear and articulate fashion. If you’re arguing a point, it can be made in lively and interesting splendor. If you’re analyzing a text, you don’t have to drain the blood from the entire work. There’s room for levity and entertainment.

We must acknowledge, though, that not every paper will be a barrel of laughs. Perhaps your subject matter is very grim, and you don’t trust yourself with dark humor. Perhaps you’re writing a research paper, and there’s not much breathing room for creativity. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Still, depending on what it is you’re trying to accomplish with your writing, you just might be able to brighten someone’s day. That said, there are different standards for different assignments.

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PSA: Survivor Season 32, Vote Now

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Season 32 of Survivor has an all-new theme: Second Chance players! And CBS and Jeff Probst are letting us, the fans, decide who the cast will be from a group of contestants who didn’t win their first time around.

How does this apply to you, as a Brown student/parent/alum?

As I’m sure most of you who are following the current season know (SPOILER ALERT) that awesome Brown alums Shirin ’05 and Max ‘99 were both voted off the current season of Survivor: Worlds Apart. Max was pretty brutally blindsided and Shirin was bullied until she eventually met her end, which was hard to watch. I’m sure they were very appreciative for all of your Twitter/Facebook love this season.

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Want to show them some more love? Fortunately for us, they were both fun enough to watch to be candidates to return.

Tap into your Brunonian spirit and vote for Max and Shirin to join the cast of Season 32! Also, if you hate those smug Yale students, don’t vote for Stephen Fishbach, class of 2001.

You can vote here, and you can vote once a day. VOTE SHIRIN AND MAX!!!

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Final note, if you truly love Survivor, vote for Shane Powers, national treasure and star of this absurd audition tape.

Images via, via, and via.


Blogify: Finals

Last year we made a playlist of 140 songs to help us through finals period. If you, like us, have exhausted that playlist and are in need of some new musical inspiration, you’re in luck. Here are 51 new songs to get you through the final push.


What I’ll miss from abroad

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Three months from now, many of my classmates and I will be jet-setting to foreign lands in search of adventure, out-of-the box education, invaluable experiences, and the perfect foodstagrams. Going abroad sits somewhere between exciting and strange. Everyone I’ve spoken to, who is leaving Brown for the fall semester, has agreed that it doesn’t yet feel like we’re actually leaving, or like we aren’t going to be back here for a whopping eight months.

You know what they say–count your blessin’s. Though the sophomore slump hit us pretty effing hard, we shouldn’t forget what we’ll miss about Brown while we’re gone. I know — the slump makes it easy to forget. Don’t worry — I’m here to remind you what’s so special about Brunonia.

1. The Ratty. Some study abroad programs don’t offer meal plans for their students. Plus, how could those that do compete with the Ratty? The Ratty, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing things about Brown. Those going abroad won’t find all-you-can eat, pre-paid meals everywhere in the world — or daily access to grilled chicken.

2. The Brown bubble. The Brown bubble is safer than any foreign city; there’s no doubt about that. It’s also a one-stop shop — the Brown bubble has everything you could ever need in a square mile and a half. Food, good places to work, a CVS, bars, and, most importantly, Health Services! What do I do if my appendix explodes while I’m abroad? How do I find antibiotics in the Czech Republic?

3. The familiar faces, which lies in the same vein as the Brown bubble. It sounds like a college cliché, but it’s true — you really can’t go more than two minutes without running into someone you know or without someone saying hi to you. When you’re having a shitty day and are forced to smile to someone you know, your day actually becomes that much better. I’m not so sure you can feel so loved in a city of millions of strangers. (Wow, that sounds super depressing.)

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Pizza Nite is here!!!

That’s right, folks! The bi-annual Pizza Nite is here!

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For those of you who don’t know, Pizza Nite is a magical experience where the Rock and the Sci Li dole out *FREE* pizza for students stressing over finals. The event is sponsored by Campus Life and the University Library. If you’re running low on points, meal credits, and your monthly allowance, then this is the night for you. The crowds can pretty intense so make sure you get there on time. The pizza nights are staggered, meaning you can get DOUBLE free pizza if you’re feeling really ambitious. If pizza isn’t your thing, then don’t fret: there will also be apples, cookies, and other snacks.

Pizza Nite is happening tonight at 9:00pm in the Sci Li and tomorrow night at 9:00pm in the Rock. Come one, come all!

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What to do this week: May 4 – May 10

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Tuesday, May 5

Event: Free gel pens and stuff!
Time; 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: J. Walter Wilson Lobby

Come get free pens and things for finals!

Event: Library Pizza Night #1
Time: 9 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Location: SciLi Basement

Get pizza in the basement of the SciLi to power through your late night studying.

Wednesday, May 6

Event: Books & Bourbon at New Harvest Coffee & Spirits
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: New Harvest Coffee & Spirits

A discussion of Harper Lee’s famous book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

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