Just last week I watched one of my friends trod through grading some assignments. For anyone of you who is familiar with the pain that is grading, you know how horrible it is. For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure I will say this, it’s worse than actually doing the assignment. No matter how much you suffered writing that paper or finish that lab I can guarantee you that grading it was worse. Why? Because the person who graded it had to do it 20 times while you only had to go through that hell once.
As I watched my friend grade those papers I felt nothing but sympathy and gratitude. Sympathy that he had to do that and gratitude that I only had to grade lab assignments and not papers. Because I’m going to be honest, there’s nothing worse than grading papers. When you grade a paper you’ve got to not only grade for content but also for grammar. Which is annoying and time consuming. Papers are often peppered with mistakes, some serious and some small. The line between too harsh and too lenient is blurry, making it difficult to know how many points to take off exactly.
The reason I bring this up is because I see the worst offenders for this sort of poor writing is STEM majors. We STEM majors have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to our ability to write, it’s almost sad. The worst thing about it all is that we make fun of the humanities while we do it. A majority of science majors can’t string three words together into a cohesive sentence but we delight in making fun of the people who can. I’m guilty of that myself, I’ve got at least a dozen English major jokes in my arsenal ready for use at any time.
But honestly? We STEM majors need to get it together. Either we have to stop making fun of the people who can do what we can’t and treat them with the respect they deserve. Or we need to stop scorning the skills altogether and learn how to do it ourselves. A lot of STEM majors will claim that they don’t know how to write, that their brain doesn’t work like that. Coming from the same group that’ll look down on an Art major who can’t do calculus. It’s funny because that Art major is going to need calculus way less than the STEM major will need to be able to write.
Pull yourselves together STEM majors and learn to write!