Treat me with kid gloves? No way. I prefer the cold hard truth. Come at me bro. Spit in my face. I’m not afraid of your criticism.
Good honest criticism helps me become better at what I do. Break me down, build me back up, you might say. It challenges me to reach my full earned potential.
A time I faced harsh criticism was back in my first year of college. I had just turned 19 years old and was a few months fresh out of high school. I had an introductory English class with a teacher who was probably the toughest critic I had faced in my academic career at that time. Of course I was a little intimidated when he said to the class that he had a Master’s Degree in Language and Literature and here I am thinking, “Oh, this guy sure thinks he’s hot stuff. I’m totally screwed in this class”. Which I wasn’t completely – it just felt like an uphill climb for me because I wasn’t sure how tough the English class would be.
There were about five papers we had to do during the course and they all required a lot of peer editing and blotches of red ink. I believe they were a literal analysis, descriptive essay, informative essay, narrative essay, and one other I can’t remember the type of. My first few papers did not receive very good grades, sub par at best and I instantly became worried that I would have a tough time passing the class. The first ever college essay I wrote was, now in my mind, an embarrassing piece about my first girlfriend in high school. I cannot believe the chummy stuff I put in there, some of it so silly I felt like it was better suited being read by children than a college professor. This was my narrative essay. Soon after that paper, which received an okay but not superb grade, I got more serious with my essays, especially the research papers. There arose a nagging thought in my head that I would have to submit an exceptionally well-crafted paper if I ever wanted to receive top marks because, according to the professor, that first paper was rubbish. A lot of other students had a tough time ‘cracking the code’ as well.
This was the first class that my writing really got critiqued and scrutinized. The teacher, Greenman his name, covered and crossed out my papers with lots of markups and red ink the few first times I turned a paper in, while also adding short notes on the back page critiquing my work. At first I was getting frustrated each time my papers came back with grades that I was not satisfied with and I could not figure out what I was doing wrong (fixing those occasional fallacies in my papers took some trial and error). But through a little bit of hard work and effort I did manage to receive a decent, but not perfect, grade. The discussions and group editing also helped with my essay writing and getting them up to the teacher’s tough standards. I’m glad I got a chance to take this class because soon after my writing greatly improved and I learned that accepting harsh criticism would only make me better. I did not break down at all but kept on taking the prof’s advice and learning from my mishaps. And look where I am now, blogging like a champ on WordPress!
In Response to the Daily Prompt: Handle With Care