What I Learned in English Literature and Analysis
My writing has greatly improved as a direct result of this course, especially with regards to the inclusion of relevant in-text citations, and the inclusion of various themes from eighteenth century authors in literary analyses. However, the most important thing that I learned in this class has less to do with the realm of academia, and more to do with my newfound rapid understanding of the phrase "ignorance is bliss".
One of the things that I had previously been ignorant about is that natural selection is far from being a viable theory to be applied to the human race. Before I entered the classroom on the first day of the semester, I, in my youthful naiveté, thought that society functioned meritocracy of survival, both intellectual and otherwise, as stated by Charles Darwin in his work On the Origin of Species. However, after associating for the better part of four months with my fellow classmates, I get the uneasy feeling that Darwin might have been very wrong. Far from his proposed selection of the fittest, with only the most resourceful and intelligent members of society managing to survive, I was met with a room of people, the majority of whom were, for the lack of a better term, complete and utter morons. One manifestation of this phenomenon occurred during our class discussion of the writings of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama. Although a select few members of the class, along with the teacher, attempted to steer the conversation onto relevant topics, the usefulness of the discussion went south when one of the members of the class, a student with perpetual bedhead and an alarming amount of problems with his printer, piped up with the comment that he had not, before now, realized that the Dalai Lama was an actual person (as opposed to a glorified llama). All of the students within hearing distance quietly chortled. While I was also slightly amused, most of my attention was occupied by a thought running through my head; if Darwin had done his research at this university and not the Galapagos Islands, his theory of evolution would have been vastly altered.
Another truth I had been previously blissfully ignorant of is the fact that humans have an awe inspiring capacity to replenish their seemingly endless cache of readymade excuses. From the classic "my goldfish died" to the more modern, but equally effective "my computer broke", it seemed at times that my fellow classmates put more intellectual effort into the creation of their lovingly crafted excuses than they did their essays. Although I cannot be too critical, having been guilty of this myself, I felt that the sheer scope and numerical greatness of these excuses began to, at times, border on the ridiculous. Sometimes, I honestly felt as if walking up to one of my wayward classmates and inquiring about where to purchase a computer that only malfunctioned on the days in which essays were due, or a printer that curiously ran out of ink whenever the teacher asked for rough drafts, was the only viable option. One good that came out of this phenomenon, however, was my introduction to, and current research into the previously untapped field which studies the negative correlation between the inspired nature of one's excuses, and their current standing the class that the excuses are being manufactured for. In the future, when I am accepting my Nobel Prize in the field of social sciences for delving into this tumultuous field, I will be sure to use a pithy thesis statement, relevant topic and concluding sentences, and proper in-text citations in my acceptance notice.