Thursday, April 01, 2004

Root Canals, Group Projects, and other fun activities

I just got off the phone with a member of my project group for my "Social Issues in Biotechnology" class. During the conversation, she mentioned that she just finished a graduate writing workshop recommended by her advisor. After I got off the phone, it occurred to me that no one had ever suggested that I take a writing workshop in grad school. With a sinking feeling, I went and looked at her midterm paper on our class website. Let's just say it didn't fill me with confidence in her writing ability.

Now to be fair, I don't think she is a native English speaker. And I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who knows enough of a foreign language to attend graduate school in it. But on the other hand, when your grade is on the line, you can't help but think that it would be nice to be in a group with a few gifted wordsmiths with a remarkable command of the English language.

I should point out that I've worked with plenty of native-born Americans who were lousy writers, and I'm sure there are plenty of non-native speakers who can write circles around me. But unfortunately they aren't in my BIOT640 project group.

Oh, yeah. On top of that, I have once again summarily been elected group leader. We were playing a game of chicken. The first person to panic and suggest that maybe we should actually meet was tagged as the sucker, and henceforth appointed ruler. That was me. So it's my job to guide the group into coming up with a coherent paper in the next month. It's going to be a long month.

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