Crash course in essay writing
Get a Life
It's one week post-MCAT and all I have to say is: "school's out for summer," heck, "school's out for eva."
Oh wait, we have finals, even the seniors. Not to worry, though, as I say: Forego the usual walk into stress and sleep deprivation. Notre Dame doth provide for you well, dear friends. And how does she do it? She provides you with Viewpoint.
Yes, Viewpoint (and maybe a few other classic works of age-old thought provocation, but mainly just the Viewpoint pages). Many controversial topics have appeared among this very newspaper's pages that would make very good final exam essays.
So be not afraid. We will provide you with the necessary styles of attacking the tough essay question exam.
You are unconvinced. You are still afraid of finals week. And why? Because this is it, this is the last week before a glorious summer, culminating in the rest of your life or because you need to pass the final that allows you to pass the class that allows you to graduate.
Any way you slice it, this upcoming week in May is one that will not be remembered for the amount of Frisbee throwing on the quad. This week will most assuredly be remembered for those climactic few days in which a year's worth of communal philosophy congeals into the most profound nugget of wisdom; a wisdom that will have garnered you the highest of honors: graduation or a ticket to another year at Notre Dame.
Although you may prefer to study all the material, learning it thoroughly, so as to be ready for the actual exam questions asked, we feel that this year, this new millennium year, calls for something more practical, more time-efficient, more, well, in touch with topics that affect all of our lives. So I, a stupendous writer, while drinking (coffee) have brought together the many important issues that you have heard this year into thought-provoking essay exam material.
1. Begin with your "own" broad generalization.
"This problem has plagued societies since the earliest beginnings of human history." This problem concerns free speech. Many cultures ask themselves, "should we have it?" Yea or nay? Most democratic citizens say yea, but some fake-democratic citizens will pop-up with a nay.
Or start simply with a re-phrase of the question such as "I can not help, dearest professor, but respond by simply saying `No, that's wrong.' Indeed, I'm not even willing to consider what you have written as even within the foggiest range of validity."
Add a sentence that begins with "Studies have shown."
2. Put in your main examples.
On this campus alone, there exist some struggles between those who want freedom and those who do not. Remember all the past issues of Viewpoint to collect your examples.
Some Notre Dame women, for instance, believe they are not able to express themselves freely in the clothing they are "socially allowed" to wear. How can we consider ourselves Americans in a society that does not allow free forms of all kinds of speech?
When will parietals become destroyed? This is quite possibly the biggest example of freedom restriction in our immediate vicinity.
And good lord, "The Vagina Monologues," where did free-speech go in that situation? (Why that debauchery known as the Keenan Review can have its glory while "The Vagina Monologues" are silenced is beyond anybody's guess.)
Also, should we or should we not allow President Bush to speak on campus? And more importantly, if we allow him to speak, are we being pro-free speech? Maybe, but maybe not.
And it is a fact that certain students on this campus do not want democratic ideals; they state that "they question the lack of editorial censorship on the part of The Observer in articles that deal with such topics as gun control." We cannot even talk about personal firearms without people going nuts around here.
Be bold with your declarative statements. "One might suggest, however, that the opulence of this university coheres as much to Catholic character as would giant midnight orgies on North quad." Now, take another angle in your argument; state that the problem stems from meat. That's right, meat! Some have suggested a conspiracy with the Catholic season of Lent. The unfortunate result of losing free speech reaches much farther than one may think. Rhetorically, ask, "If we eat not meat, what are we sacrificing?" Only our nutrition, our health, and our stamina, is what we're sacrificing.
3. Sum up your conclusions.
Try to reach some conclusions for God's sake. Say that the problem demands serious answers, serious action. But we cannot help you with them as you would be caught for plagiarism and tossed out of campus on your butt.
Now, because we are master craftsmen, you are done studying for most of your exams, unless you are an engineer. By God, go out and enjoy the fresh air; you know, "if you free your mind, the rest will follow."
Incidentally, the multiple choice final: narrow the answer down to two best choices than choose C if that is an option. If C is not an option, we're sorry to hear that; do what you can.
Anna Barbour is a junior theology and pre-professional major. Her column appears every other Monday.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, April 30, 2001