Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An EE of An EE

4.0 Results and Findings:


It is uncanny how similar the growth curve of my Extended Essay is to the growth curve of an average human being.

But then again, why should I be surprised? To me, my Extended Essay has taken an almost human quality. Even though this sweet child of mine has given me sleepless nights, played with my mental state and won my hate and love in equal measure…I cannot deny that she has found a place in my heart.

5.0 Evaluation:

5.1 Birth
It all began months ago, when she first popped into my head – and into my life – as an adorable little Research Question. She was barely a thesis statement and a hastily-put-together list of research objectives then, but to me she was my world. Proudly I showed her to Miss Melor, who agreed to be my EE advisor (for the rest of this blog post, Miss Melor will be referred to as “the Godmother” for dramatic purposes). 

But like any new father, I was nervous. Horror stories abound from seniors and teachers about EE’s which have gone bad; RQ’s which had to be changed halfway, EE’s which have gone down the dark path of plagiarism. But I was determined that she was not going to be one of those EE’s.

5.2 First procrastination phase
That determination though, did not last long. It is this point of the story of which I am most embarrassed: I became a negligent parent.

I don’t know whether it was my other assignments or my responsibilities as a student rep, but I ignored her. I left her in my laptop, alone and overlooked. Referring to Diagram 1, this part of the story is the nearly horizontal part of the graph slightly above the number ‘0’ number of words.

The deadline for your first check-up came and went, but still I did not send her to the Godmother to be inspected. I was a man on the run, ready to bolt at the sight of the Godmother. At one point I got pretty good at escaping her. The key to escape, I learned, was not to run, but to hide. I never did get caught – or so I thought.

5.3 First growth spurt
But one day I got a letter from the Godmother, my full name and class neatly typed out on the front. In it was a memo:

“…due to your poor and bad commitment, you will now handle your IB exam registration directly with the Head of Academic Affairs…”

To the Godmother I sent a text:

“Teacher, I am sorry…can you extend the deadline to next week please?”

To which the reply (in true Godmother fashion):

“I don’t want excuses. I want a first draft.”

This leads me to believe that EE advisors must have been trained in the art of psycho-ing their advisees…

The weekend after that marked the first growth spurt in Diagram 1, as I did not leave my laptop for two days to shower my EE with the attention she so lacked. With the words I fed her, she grew from slightly above 0 words to 3000 words in a matter of 48 hours.

5.4 Second procrastination phase
Unfortunately, this was not to be the feel-good part of the story yet. The Sem 3 examinations rolled along, and once again my EE went unheeded. I promised myself that I would once again shower her with attention once the holidays began. But procrastination, my arch-nemesis, reared its ugly head as per usual. I did look at her, and fed her the words she was so hungry for – but they were far from enough.

As it was then, she had no citations whatsoever yet. This sweet child of mine was heading down the dark road to plagiarism – it was going to be a potentially hazardous puberty indeed.

5.5 Second growth spurt
The second growth spurt was brought about by mother (a.k.a. my second EE advisor) who persuaded (read: forced) me to work on my EE towards the end of the Sem 3 holidays. So when Sem 4 began my EE had exceeded 4000 words. In other words, she was overweight. Still I fed her more words as the deadline approached. Eventually she would approach 6000 words. It was at this point that I had to submit to the painful truth – she was obese.

5.6 A painful weight-loss programme
When I submitted her to turnitin.com (which checks for plagiarism) it felt like watching my baby been checked for drugs. But my faith in her was justified – my baby was clean. Only 10% of her content was ‘un-original’ – something which could easily be solved via citations.

Her weight problem, though, was still a big issue. She could not be submitted while exceeding 4000 words… I had to do it – I had to put her through a weight-reduction program. I knew it was going to hurt me as much as it hurt her.

Deleting months of hard work at the click of the backspace button was not easy, but I knew I had to do it. It was her health, after all, which was at stake.  Eventually she was down to the ideal size. And after her citations were included (after a sleepless night), this sweet child of mine was absolutely stunning.

5.7 Submission
The day she came out into the world (from the printer) was a day I will remember for quite a while. The feeling when I sent her in to the Godmother was like that of flying. My baby has left me, and regardless of how many points she wins, to me at least she will always be beautiful.

6.0 Conclusion
ARGHH!!! Who am I kidding?? The only reason that I am writing this 999 word post (graph included) is because I have nothing else to do! I miss that sweet child of mine :’(((((((((((((
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