by Nicholas Dippel, Student Consultant, University Writing Center
When an instructor criticizes your work, it is perfectly okay to feel disappointment and even some negative emotions towards them. They are there to teach new skills and help you refine them. This is why they are professors in the first place; they want to challenge willing minds to learn something new. That being said, some instructors have little to no patience, and some have a very specific view of how writing should be done. Those instructors have the tendency to think that their own writing style is what makes the world turn. This is not so.
Everyone’s writing style is different. Granted academic writing does have different sets of formats, but that does not mean you should lose yourself in the stuffy text. If the professor wants you to sound just like them, remember that you only have to take their class for the semester, and you can choose someone else next time…hopefully. If not then hold your tongue and give them what they want, but try to take something away from the experience.
Criticism from tough professors can and probably will affect the way you write. Most professors are trying to give you feedback that will help you in not only your academic career, but also later on in life. Even the professors whose criticism seems too harsh are trying to help you. Never let a bad critique or even a bad grade keep you down. Writing is a trial-and-error process. Take everything that your professor critiques about your paper in and really think about it. Most of the time they are correct in what they say, but occasionally they are wrong. It’s up to you to assimilate and learn from the experience. Remember your writing process is completely different from your professor and your peers. It’s okay to be upset, but don’t take anything too personally; the class will eventually end, and you will move on to your next writing experience.