I had one-on-one meetings with my freshmen students today, in preparation of an essay due on Monday. Most of them seemed to be suffering from lack of motivation and a desire to be allowed to do whatever they want; one argued that his essays did not have to be based in reality because the point of writing was to get people’s attention, which was easier to do with sweeping generalizations and speculation and semi-sexual metaphor. Another (currently failing) student brought in the last essay, almost two weeks late. He said, by way of excuse: “I’m a little too into the party scene.” I said: “Well, then, it’s a question of priority. Do you want to party for the rest of your life?”

He said yes, he wished he could. Why can’t you? I asked. Well, I’ve gotta do this, he said, indicating his error-riddled essay. Not really, I said. You could always get a crap job and do nothing.

“Nah,” he said, the look of shock wavering momentarily on his face and then disappearing “I want to get a good job so I can really party.”

To that end, I explained why possessives need apostrophes and why writing looks terrible without adherence to such signposts. He seemed to listen intently.

My last student came and found me after completely missing his appointment. “I keep running into your brother,” he said “Man, he is big. I think I need to study more in your class.”

Debauchary and bodily threat. It’s so nice to finally find some way to motivate today’s youth.

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