The Dreaded Essay Rewrite

Trying to get myself to rewrite my “Bloodchild” Essay has been a struggle. I gave myself about two weeks where I was allowed to not think or look at the essay at all, and then I hoped to start revising it. Admittedly, I did not actually start revising my essay until a few days ago and I really did not enjoy doing it. I can’t say I was surprised at my own reluctance to look at the essay again because rewrites are just frustrating. While working on my essay, I began thinking about what the purpose of revision is, and that’s when Geneseo’s Mission Statement popped in my head. Two of the values listed as part of Geneseo’s Mission, Vision, and Values for the college and its students were learning and creativity. These two stood out to me because of their descriptions. “Learning: embracing high expectations for intellectual inquiry, scholarly achievement, and personal growth,” and “Creativity: affirming a spirit of innovation that inspires intellectual curiosity and problem-solving,” are both descriptions of what I’d like to practice and achieve as a student, so I began wondering why this process has been so difficult for me. 

I am intellectually curious, I want to grow and achieve as a student, I want to problem-solve, and I want to be passionate and spirited in my pursuit of education. So why is it so hard for me to revise my essay if rewriting is exactly the type of process that will help me reflect, grow, and achieve? 

Is it laziness? I’m not a lazy student. I put effort into my work, I hand everything (or most things) in on time, I take pride in my work, and I feel unsettled when I procrastinate. To put off working on my “Bloodchild” essay, I work on the same Calculus homework until I perfect it or I re-take Macroeconomics quizzes until I get 100% or I read more of my Irish Civil War Prisoner’s Diary. I do things I do not need to be doing, but I’m not lazy. However, I’m clearly not exhibiting high expectations for personal growth with regards to my writing, either. 

Is it that I think my essay is perfect? Maybe I don’t want to admit that it’s flawed because that’s based on someone else’s judgement, not my own. Well, that’s not true because the only reason I submitted the essay in the state that it was in is because I was just too tired of looking at it to fix anything more. I thought that it was a good essay but I knew I could have done more. I felt like my claim got lost by the end of the essay, and my “so-what?” paragraph was just an attempt to pretend that the whole essay linked together well. There were several awkward transitions and topic sentences that I just gave up on, and I felt like I repeated the same words and phrases too many times. Obviously, my issue is not the reluctance to change what I’d done. 

Is it lack of confidence? Possibly, yes. And, most-likely, old habits getting in my head. The lack of confidence and motivation to rewrite is because the first time I worked hard wasn’t enough, so I don’t know if it will be the second time. But personal growth is a process. Trying a second time does not make the first time useless, it makes it the learning stage before the final product. My old habits tell me that not only should I make the same messy mistakes I did in high school, but revision should only be moving paragraphs around, changing wording, and fine-tuning the thesis statement. But revision and rewriting is a process of learning what didn’t work the first time so that I can start from scratch and avoid those same mistakes the second time. I want to embrace learning and creativity which means I have to go through slow processes that I do not enjoy. 

I think the reason I dislike this so much is just a mixture of a few things. It’s lack of confidence and old habits (and laziness) that keep me from throwing myself into the process of revision, which can help guide me to innovate, problem-solve, grow, and achieve. That doesn’t mean I’m not committed to the values that Geneseo has, but I don’t yet know how to overcome this reluctance and lack of motivation. I think I just need to keep thinking about these values and what the process can do for me, because there’s a deadline approaching and I’m a girl who values grades and a finished product.

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