Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My thoughts on "perfection"

So, tonight was my technical writing class. The professor seems like a nice professional lady, she's going to be a good enough teacher. We have some cool projects, like writing something for a non-profit (their choice) for experience with a "client" and some long ones (a 15 page research paper). But what I want to talk about today is the dreadful peer-review process.

Our first-day writing diagnostic was to draft a memo to our class introducing ourselves and peer-review it. Now, I am the Technology section editor of my school newspaper, so sometimes I'm a little annoying about editorial comments. However, I believe that peer reviews are supposed to help people improve their writing so I make an effort to be thorough and honest. Not mean, I try to do the "compliment sandwich" where I say what's good and what's bad, then say another positive thing. But I do always have comments. Sometimes they're the kind of comment that can be ignored (I realize that my writing style and other students writing styles are different) but I always have comments.

It annoys me when I get back peer reviews that say "Your writing is perfect!" and nothing else. And this has been happening to me since high school. Now, I know I am not a perfect writer. I've seen the edits that my fellow Retriever Weekly staff can apply to my writing, and I know that I need editing. I also know that not everyone has the training to see those errors. But the word "perfect" really, really annoys me. Writing assignments can always be improved. 100% is only accurate on math assignments and the like. I realize some people do receive all the credit on essays, but I really think that's because they're being weighted against their classmates and not because it's impossible to improve on their piece.

Of course, I realize that's my being picky. But I remember, as a child, the pastor at my church preaching a sermon on how the word "awesome" was over used, and that the things it was used for didn't REALLY draw awe from the person using it. I think "perfect" is the same way.

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