In May, I’ll graduate with an MA in Humanities from Pacifica Graduate Institute, assuming that my portfolio is accepted. I’m deep into revision four, not of content this time or structure, but of APA format. Every time I get frustrated with the nitpickiness of it, I remind myself that it’s just another hoop to jump through.
APA format, for those who don’t know, is a comprehensive list of rules (300 page worth) of how to format an academic document, including margins, fonts, spacing, punctuation, and such. It differs from the other systems (MLA, CMS) only in the specifics of the arbitrary rules. For example, I must change “webpage” to “Web page.” Why? They said to do it that way. This document will be in the college library along with others’ dissertations and theses, so it does reflet on me, and that is reason enough to do it by the rules.
None of my instructors noted or seemed to care about this level of “correctness” of APA formatting. All the papers I included made As. In fact, I only wrote one paper that did not get an A, but that grade was based on the content not APA, and that one cost me a 4.0. Life goes on.
So I edit and check off each comment. I check again to see if there is something that the reviewer missed, and I have found a few things. Perfection is not anyone’s purview. I admit that I should have had someone check the first one more fully, and should have asked more questions rather than making executive decisions.
Anyway, the editing moves apace and must be done in any event, if I am to graduate.
My recent unpleasant experience shows me once again how far removed from the business world academia is. I need to get out of a world where people often teach something they are only just learning themselves. I managed to confuse an internship with a class because I was doing tasks assigned by other people who had privately held standards of how the criteria for assessing performance was to be applied. I hoped that the internship would bring me the knowledge to make the money to pay off my grad school loans.
Now I can only shake the dust off my sandals and look for another door to open.