You’re only taking this English class because it’s required for your degree. You’re only making this outline because you need it for a grade. You’re only coming to the writing center because you want extra credit.
And that’s okay.
Many times we will spit out papers as quickly as we can, hoping to make the due date and the A. In classes that may seem to have little or no relation to your major, having to write a bunch papers will seem like a nuisance. However, you will put forth effort (minimum effort, maybe, but effort nonetheless) for a good mark. After all, going to college is all about getting good grades nowadays.
And that’s okay.
But what if, for a moment, we remember the true purpose of receiving a higher education? What if, instead of chasing that higher grade, we pursued knowledge? What if, instead of throwing together sloppy papers for our gen-eds and skimping by with low As and high Bs, we mastered the basics? What if we all understood comma splices and how to fix them? What if we could write powerful and influential papers with proper grammar and well organized ideas?
That would be better.
Often we resign ourselves to neglecting the importance of our general education classes because we believe they are either too easy or unimportant. However, perhaps we should come to terms with the fact that the majority of brand-new college freshmen have no clue how to write a decent college-level essay. Maybe we could humble ourselves to admit that our organization problems exist because we think that we’re above outlining (if J.K. Rowling needs to outline, so do you). Instead of groaning about "busy work," maybe we could take advantage of the seeming monotony (and actually learn about what passive voice is and how we can avoid it).
Maybe your upcoming essay seems unimportant. It’s just one of hundreds that you will write in your college career. You don’t have time to make an outline, and you don’t really care to understand why that comma doesn’t belong there. No one will ever read this paper besides your professor, anyway.
But your thoughts and ideas as a human being are important.
Regardless of your major or your current position in life, you have a unique perspective. Your input on any topic should be taken seriously. As a university student, you have access to incredible resources and opportunities that so many lack, and you have interesting things to say. Even if you think no one will read it, even if you think it has been written before, you have the ability to say it in a new way. Your thoughts and ideas are important. But no one will take your writing seriously unless you do.
You are more than welcome to ignore all of the learning and just make the A-. That is entirely possible. But what if you took advantage of each opportunity to pen down your ideas? What if you drew out a clear outline, took the time to create drafts, sought help from writing coaches and professors, and wrote papers that actually meant something? What if you had the ability to write something that was actually worth someone’s time?
Yes, you have to write this paper if you want a good grade. But what you write has the potential to be so much more meaningful with a little time, thought, and a few trips to the writing center.
And that’s awesome.