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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Petya’s First College Research Paper

th1Not so much a research paper as a response paper, Petya had been asked to give his opinion on a certain archaeological matter. The university gave first-time college students the opportunity to submit such a paper in order to firm-up their academic writing. The exercise did not count toward their final grade, but was more of a courtesy, a highly-recommended, non-mandatory trial run.

Our son submitted his work, less stellar than I would have liked, some murkiness in his manner of citations when it came to footnotes and bibliography, yet he used the style guidelines that had been recommended. indexFamiliar with a wide variety of writing styles, and particularly those of teens, I was not impressed, but I did not feel he had made a poor showing.  He made a decent first attempt and could probably pick up some tips in the process.

Instead, the professor blasted him. Petya was weighed in the balances and found wanting.

Research-Paper-Outline-Writing-Help-298x3001. He did not like Petya’s thesis and disagreed with the point he was making, even though the assignment said he could choose one side or the other. Apparently, there was a right side and a wrong side.

2. Some of Petya’s citations came from resources over 20 years old. The professor reminded curtly, “We are in 2014. Why are you referencing THIS?”

3. The professor did not appreciate our son’s level of English. I felt it was well-written for a young person (or any person, for that matter), but we saw the bar being raised before us. This was going to be survival of the fittest and Petya was now forewarned to bring his “A” game.

4. The textbooks used in this course did not specifically refer to the researchth question being posed. So Petya utilized outside, peer-reviewed articles in addition to the course material. His advisor, who happened to be the head of the department, expressed his displeasure and wondered why Petya chose to study with them if he was not embracing the materials set before him.


It was an eye-opener.

His father and I talked him down off the wall. Though a bit on the harsh side, this was exactly the information he would need to make it in the academic world. At least it was a non-graded, optional assignment, and he could only go up from here. I sat across from him where he had retreated into his young-man-cave-thbottom-bunk and gave him a pep talk.

Our son crafted an e-mail thank you note for the professor’s commentary and helpful input. He said he knew there was work to be done and that his next effort would reflect the changes.

I fought off feelings of devastation, having my own struggles with receiving criticism gracefully. In a couple of months, the next paper would be due and I encouraged Petya in no uncertain terms to get back on that horse immediately.

Welcome to the big leagues, son. This is the start of a hopefully very long and distinguished career.


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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar rusmom says:

    Oh, I feel for him! With your encouragement he should be fine. You would think the prof could be nicer???

  2. avatar admin says:

    I know, Rusmom. All I could think was that he wanted to learn, and instead, they expected him to know much more, almost like kids who attend Kindergarten these days are already expected to know the alphabet and how to write their names, etc. The delivery was surprising, but in the final analysis, if it helps him come up to speed in researching and writing, it will be worth it. If it simply crushes him, well, Mr. Personality Plus could probably sell snow in Siberia, but I don’t like the thought of that….

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