More Than Just a Letter Grade


Sometimes good things happen when you least expect it. Sometimes opportunities just come knocking at your door. I actually experienced this a few days ago when my American Studies professor from last semester sent me an e-mail saying that he wanted to enter my final paper in the History Department’s essay competition. My first reaction to this e-mail was, “The History Department has an essay competition?!” My second thought was, “Whoa, he wants to enter my essay?” And my third thought was, “That’s so cool! Why not?”

I met with my professor yesterday to discuss what this would actually entail. He said that the department holds a competition for student work every year, and that he thinks my paper has a good chance. Technically the class I took was American Studies, but since the university counts it for history credit he said he thinks it would be worth entering. So, of course, I said sure! IÂ’m going to have to tweak it a little bit, but the competition deadline isnÂ’t for a while so I have a little time.

It’s kind of cool to be recognized for something that I didn’t actually think I was so great at. I mean, I’ve always like and been pretty decent at writing, but not usually about these kind of subjects. Our topic was “What does it mean to be an American?” and we had to incorporate the texts that we read throughout the semester as supporting evidence. I worked really hard on that paper because I was kind of worried about it and because I knew it would be a huge part of my final grade. I received a good grade, but the appreciation from my professor actually means a lot more than a letter. Even if I don’t win, it’s still comforting to know that my hard work really did pay off. And who knows? This paper submission could open even more doors in the future!