It was not the first time I had been asked to complete a colossal assignment in a narrow time frame – being a senior in high school the academic stress is enough without the teachers requesting you to write a 3000-word dissertation. Even though the thought of finishing this paper was very intimidating at first, it was only during the process of writing and researching did I manage to truly enjoy this paper. So, my connection with writing can be described as an ever-changing experience, always helping me to augment my knowledge on literature and the English language. This one dissertation on the topic, ‘Cancer and its Effects’ in particular helped me reflect on my relation with writing. This essay can almost be called both an arduous and enlightening experience, as it made me realize my important connection with writing and this project marked a milestone in my future as a successful student.
With around half of the academic year over, it was only a matter of time for us to hear the news of this fateful assignment, from our teacher. However, we had already heard of this “Herculean task” in great length, from our over-worked seniors. As we filed into class one day, we noticed the loathsome Mrs. James – our class teacher, clutching a bundle of papers with a faint smirk playing in the corners of her mouth. Soon she began calling out our names and handing each of us a paper with our topic for the essay and some guidelines. I will admit that I was very nervous sitting there waiting for my name, fearful of being slapped with an esoteric, or worse, dull project. As these clouds of doubt shrouded my mind, it was almost as though nature seemed to reflect and amplify my inner terror, as the unmistakable musty smell of a torrential downpour inundated the room. A shrill, resounding “Prahlad!” swiftly snapped me from my nightmare and just as quickly, I was back in my seat clutching my paper, petrified to stand next to Mrs. James and receive that cold glare of resentment, behind those rimmed bifocals.I should say that I was very fortunate to be assigned the topic, ‘Cancer and its Effects’ as I was extremely fond of this area of biology and I had already been doing some research into pathology. That being said, the fact remained that I was 3000-words away from an ‘A’ on my final report – a real conflict of emotions.
Due to my prior experiences with cancer research, I spared myself the time of carrying out the pain-staking background work. Hence the first few days of being handed this burden were spent focusing on my other activities but nevertheless I was able to get started pretty early on the assignment. My first priority was to structure the entire essay in a very cohesive and comprehensive manner. Thus I decided to divide my work into four major classes namely; introduction – discussing the definitions and terms related to this topic, types and variants – this chapter focusing on the classification of the different cancers and tumors, causes and effects – the bulk of my presentation and, signs and symptoms – this one, delving into the aspects of the diagnosing and prevention of said cancer. Once the final structure of my essay was concreted, I re-focused on trying to expound my ideas in the most appealing and powerful way to grip my reader’s attention and hopefully wipe that condescending grin of Mrs. James face.
Over the next few weeks, my days seemed to stretch for eternity. My daily schedule comprised me going to school, coming back and doing the assignment while being interrupted periodically with breaks for food and other menial activities. The days were taxing and the nights were long and the only glimmer of inspiration was the fact that my topic was one that I actually enjoyed and relished. Also by the astonishing pace with which I was managing to write, I saw myself finishing this report with more than a week to spare! Thus it was precisely at this point of time when I realized how this assignment had transitioned into a joyful experience, doing what I like from the arduous and burdensome essay that I had previously envisioned it to be.It certainly seemed as though the process of working on a particular project that I liked molded my ideas of writing and my general outlook on the English language.
Throughout this endeavor, I had to keep a few grammatical rules in the back of mind as my telos was to submit a comprehensive, scientific report to my teacher, who as a reader should enjoy it. At times it would be difficult for me to juggle between keeping it a formal, academic report and a cohesive, flowing piece of literature. Another dilemma that I had to personally overcome was the fact that my grandfather actually passed away due to this very disease and it naturally caused me a great deal of grief. So, it was hard to leap over that emotional and sentimental barrier and try to focus on the matter at hand. Furthermore, this was more than just an ordinary learning experience for me as I learnt far more than what lies between the pages in the textbooks. A transcendental journey that helped me mature and learn to help me ultimately become a better man.
School was nearly coming to an end and it was time to give in our assignments. I felt proud walking up to front of the class and hand it over to Mrs. James. It almost felt surreal because of the blended concoction of the fact that I had managed to write an entire academic dissertation and that my 18 years of school education was finally coming to an end. A huge sense of relief and accomplishment not only swept over me but were also etched into the faces of all my peers. However, the celebrations had to be postponed. Though this was just a small victory, we still had our final exams to write and receive our grades for this report.
The final few weeks of school were just a blur. Nothing but exams and revision occupied every gray cell in my brain. Consequently, it was not long before we received our final grades. It was definitely nerve-jangling to receive that small white card but nothing too scary to stop me from opening it in a hurry.I had managed to secure the third rank in my graduating class and more importantly, received an A+ for my report on cancer! Now this was certainly the opportune moment to break out the champagne.
From this writing experience I learned that English was more than just a language but a fundamental way of expressing yourself and it would be almost crippling and debilitating if one could not write in a coherent and comprehensible manner. Thus by taking this course I aim to develop my English and strengthen my writing skills and simultaneously enjoy the course as much as I enjoyed writing that essay.