A Few Hellish Reflections on English 101

Dear Uncle Satan,

     As you know, I went back to college this quarter in the hopes of getting a degree to change career paths. Career paths! That’s a joke, I wasn’t on a path to begin with.  I was just tired of doing jobs I didn’t care about while writing in my spare time and hoping someday to have something accomplished. Due to a difficult year of no employment, I decided to get a degree in Web Design. I would learn something I liked while also gaining some skills I could use to make good money.

     The first class I enrolled in was English 101. It fulfills the minimum general education requirement that my degree calls for. Of course, I’m  already a writer, so that makes this class a natural and easy decision for me. When I showed up for class on that first day about a month and a half ago now, I was so excited I had to contain myself so I wouldn’t outtalk the instructor.

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Zakaria’s Punking Me, Right?

So I’ve been pondering  ways of going about this required blog entry. It needs to be some kind of workout for our essay #2. We’re to put our ideas through some extreme cardio to knock the flab off of them. I’m actually outlining this essay, which is not always how I write. No, I am not going to put my outline up here. That would not be entertaining at all. In my opinion, blogs need to have some entertainment value as well as being “in conversation” with what we’re doing in class.

I already posted a couple of leads. I guess I could do that again to up the word count on this homework blog, but I won’t. So what should I make of this blog? I could vomit out a shitty rough draft. But my rough draft’s aren’t shitty, not when I do a proper outline. And I don’t want to write the paper twice so why post it as a blog?  Oh Lord Jesus, this blog comes at an inconvenient time! I’d rather write about things other than essay #2.
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My Journey with Jellison: The Essay Version

Going into my senior year of high school, I was very excited about my English class. I was eligible to take the highest level English my school offered and I thought things were going to be great. I would finally be challenged by an English class! We would be doing more than just a report on Animal Farm! The class would be writing every day! Yes, I was thinking in exclamation points! The buzz I was feeling was a palpable thing as I waited that first day in first period AP English for the arrival of our instructor, a formidable character named Elizabeth Jellison. She was not only the legendarily tough teacher who still seemed to figure in the nightmares of many graduates of my school, she was also the head of the English Department. This woman, I felt, would know her shit.

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WTF Blog

Is anyone else having withdrawal symptoms from not having 101 this week? I miss going to class. Not that the extra time didn’t help me today; I had to do an emergency rewrite of a paper and might not have been able to get it done if we’d had class. But still…it’s weird not going. I haven’t missed a day yet and it kind of feels like we’re group ditching or something. So maybe I’ll blog everyday this week for a release. Then again, we still have a lot to do. Are you guys going to post your essays? I probably will next week after I get it back from Meredith. I’d love to read everyone’s work even if we don’t do an official peer review. On that topic, I hope we do more work in groups the rest of the quarter. To me, that’s more valuable than having a lecture the whole period or just writing on our own. Writing is to be shared or it seems kind of pointless.

Later! Here’s a cool shot from Logan’s Run, just cos I feel like it.imagesCAC1M1QR

can’t stop now don’t you know i ain’t never gonna let you go don’t go!

So Jen looked at me a few minutes before class today and went “Dylan?” I replied, “Jen?”. And she goes “You’re upset.” I admitted it, and she said “Let’s talk about it.” We didn’t really talk about it, so I think I’ll talk about it here.

We all got surprised the other day by Jen’s news that she has to give up her classes. I’m not the only one who hates it that she’ll be leaving. Most of us are dealing with mixed feelings about it; we feel happy for her because she’s great and she deserves this great opportunity. (If you’re one of those who don’t like Jen, I’m not talking to you. These are not the droids you’re looking for, move along.) But, of course, since she’s such a good and unique teacher we don’t want to lose her. This is a sad fact. Personally, I’d already decided to take Jen for 102 and it disappoints me so much that’s not going to happen now. To throw in another nerd reference, I would have gone with her to the end, into the very fires of Mordor.



Enough geekiness. Forgive me, it’s just my way of not getting too sad.

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My Journey with Jellison

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been inspired by the “Ms. What’s Her Face” essay to relate a similar story in my own life. Don’t expect a tidy moral because it didn’t end well, and I can’t tell you what I learned. For your consideration, I offer you Elizabeth Jellison. Yes, I remember her name. Too well.

Going into my senior year at my high school, I got to take advanced English. It was the best English course my school offered and I went into it very excited. We would be writing every day! Our best would be expected of us! I would finally be challenged by an English class! We would be getting real feedback on our writing, beyond just redmarks and grammar corrections! And in walked Mrs. Jellison. She looked pretty impressive. Picture the Queen of Hearts from  Alice in Wonderland, but with an intelligent face. Yeah, it’s a contradiction of sorts, but so was the Jellison.

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From one cog to another….

I believe that if there is any purpose to education, it should be to lay a proper foundation for the person you want to become.  There’s no guarantee that there is a purpose to anything in life, but if there is one, there is probably two. Two purposes to anything in life; in this case, education. One purpose would be your purpose, whatever that may be. You want to achieve something by educating yourself. To generalize, the first purpose is internal. Something we don’t often think about fully is the second purpose: this purpose would be external, or what society wants from your education. If it served no purpose for society, education would not exist.

Or be outlawed. Oh wait, it is outlawed in some countries.

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