Life is a funny thing. It takes little twists and turns that are totally unexpected, and yet you have to stop and ask where you'd would be without them.
Yesterday, one of my professors emailed to say that she had a few questions for me and would I please give her a call. I don't have to tell you, I was pretty nervous. I mean, the very fact that a professor wants to talk to you--in the online world--is unbelievable. I barely have any contact with any of my professors. In fact, I sometimes doubt if they even read my papers. They just seem to deal out grades without any particular explanation. Anyway, all that to say I was pretty taken aback.
I also thought I was in for a big lecture. I had just recently abstained from reading several selections of literature on the grounds that they weren't exactly the most--moral pieces in the world. Lol, there just comes a point in time when you'd rather sleep at night than become an expert on modern American lit. ;) Suffice it to say I had voiced my objections quite candidly, not to mention the fact that I haven't exactly been enthusiastic about this class from the get go. If ever my prof wanted to be a stickler about "tolerance" and "open-minded analysis," she'd have grounds to mark me down. Thankfully she hasn't. ;)
But when I received that email last night, I knew for sure what was coming. The talk. All about why protest literature is vital to the American experience and why I should not censure certain authors for their explicit illustrations of drugs, sex, and violence. After all, it's an aesthetic interpretation of art and blah blah blah…
It was 12:15pm this afternoon when I made the call…or actually she called me. ;) Now, my professor as it turns out, is a very nice lady and quite educated in her field of expertise. Still, we hadn't addressed "the question," and to my surprise, we never did. Instead, our conversation (after some small talk) went something like this:
Prof: "So…I just wanted to say I really like the work you've been submitting."
me: "Oh, good."
Prof: "Yeah, um…you mentioned that you were homeschooled…I can tell."
me: (laughing because I'm not really sure if this is a compliment) "I guess that's a good thing."
Prof: "You really think outside of the box…I can tell you haven't been educated by the public schools."
me: (waiting for the "but") "Thanks."
Prof: "Yeah definitely…I uh….just…was wondering where all of those ideas come from."
me: "For my papers?"
Prof: "Yeah. It's just so…amazing that you can write like that…how….uh….do you come up with those ideas exactly?"
me: "Well, I just read the textbook and try to answer the assignment questions."
Prof: "By yourself?"
me: (apprehensively) "Yeah."
Prof: "Where do you pull all those ideas from?"
At this point, my heart is pounding. Could it be? No, she couldn't be inferring? *eyes wide* REALLY? So I ventured in my most polite, let-me-clear-the-air-for-you type voice:
me: "Wait you don't think I…Do you…think I--plagiarized my papers?"
Prof: (big sigh of relief) "That's kind of what I was trying to get at."
At which point, I started bursting out laughing. The very idea...I hated those papers with every fiber in my body and thought I did a horrible job communicating my point! And no, I did not plagiarize either of them, by the way. ;) I then explained to her how I had taken college prep courses all throughout junior high and high school, and that I am a big literature fan and have read extensively. She even got a kick out of the fact that my dad had the same problem when he was in college. In the end, she was reassured, and we had a great brainstorming session regarding my term paper topic. She's one of those revolutionary profs who can inspire someone simply by asking questions...like Miss Stacy from Anne of Green Gables. If ever I do become a teacher, I want to be just like this one. I've never been more excited to write a paper in my life, even though it'll be the longest I've ever written. ;) I've also never been showered with more attention from anyone at either college I've attended. This Prof gave me hope that there are educators out there who truly care about their students and want them to learn--not just regurgitate info. ;)
Overall, I was immensely flattered that someone should think my papers were good enough to be published. Maybe being accused of plagiarism isn't such a bad thing after all...if you didn't do it. ;)