Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問
The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: My professor advised me during an interim review that I ought to start over completely on my paper. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. Have you ever heard of anything so crazy?

Craziness comes in many flavors. When your professor advised you, was he sitting on his desk in his bikini pajamas, a Teddy bear on his lap, and peering at you through an eyeglass? That would be crazy. By comparison, his suggestion that you begin anew on your paper might be the sanest advice you’ll get all year. Your professor has seen enough academic writing to recognize early on when a paper is lame enough to warrant a mercy killing. That’s what he was doing, telling you to put it out of its misery. You should thank him, not question his mental stability.

Let’s assume for a moment that your professor is correct. I also will assume that he told you why he believed your efforts were destined to fail. You don’t share those details, so I will guess the writing was thin and nonacademic, the structure faulty, and / or the research inadequate. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is your reaction. You balked. This tells me two things: You have so little regard for your instructor that you doubt he knows as much about paper-writing as you do, or you have become so attached to your writing that you can’t give it up when challenged.

Revising an entire paper, or even a passage, can be an ordeal. Every writer blanches at the prospect. We fall in love with our words. We convince ourselves our premise is sound, our research complete, our argument unassailable. Yet writers can get so close to their work that they lose all perspective. A professor is a perspective-restorer. He isn’t there at the creation. He only sees what the paper has become, or where it is headed. Your dismissal of his critical opinion suggests that you are not serious about learning. Be smart. Heed his advice. Rewrite the paper.

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