I wrote on my palm, “Be yourself.” Previously, I had on occasion compared myself to others. What would he or she do in this situation? I decided that none of this hypothetical context mattered, and none of it really mattered. Does it really matter that me, and the Russian guy, and the libertarian blonde chick are all using black Pilot V5 pens? Does that say something about who we are? Are we then more similar to each other than to people who use trashy Uniball pens?
I decided no. That’s when I marked up my palm. Be yourself. Do things that you want to do, and ignore what others are doing. But I find it hard.
Today I got a small essay back from the GSI. Not that great grade-wise although I had put a lot of work into it, so I thought about who she was and what she was reading for. I thought about my stylistic tendencies. The essay comprised of discrete questions to be answered, and that I did not present my answers using the same terms of the prompt, I feel, is a stylistic choice. Ever since I finished The Elements of Style I feel that I’ve been reading everything for style. When I see the construction, “there is” or “there are” my mind immediately goes BZZZZT WRONG.
So, two things have either happened. The hubristic part of me feels that my information is all there, but just packaged into a format that was alien to the GSI, but the meek part of me feels that something is truly missing from my essay that I can’t see. I guess I could go to her office hours and ask her, but I don’t want to be one of those people who complains about his grades.