I miss writing introductions, bodies, and conclusions. I miss making conclusions about characters and events. I miss using evidence, quotes and deliberately manipulative language. So this is why I find myself writing essays in my spare time. I miss it. I miss that level of academia. Because I am clearly insane.
I never knew at the time that this was a kind of ridiculous skill I possess. I'm actually relatively good at writing these largely useless bodies of text. Who needs an essay, really? When it comes down to it, regular people don't turn to an essay for information. Essays are long-winded and use overly complicated language. They're formulaic and constricting. If you need information, you go to a report or even just a list of dot-points. Essays are purely for the academic at heart.
Somehow, I like them. I like reading them, and I appear to enjoy the challenge of writing them.
Of course, writing an essay on a character from a television show is not the same as writing about Miltonic Verse. I am aware of this. I'm sure more University students would enjoy writing essays if they always had the luxury of discussing the use of meta-humour in cult shows. I'm also pretty sure more University students would enjoy writing essays if the more common response to their essay was "great essay, I agree with what you said, thanks!" as opposed to "your use of evidence was interesting. Your writing mostly flowed well, but there were some noticeable exceptions as delineated throughout the text. If you were to write this essay again, you might choose to discuss the power of the antagonist's emotional impact on this character." And I'm positive University students would enjoy writing essays more if their grade didn't depend on this entirely subjective assessment.
Yet, when it comes down to it, it's still nuts to miss doing something as time consuming and ultimately fruitless as essay writing. It's even more nuts to willingly spend several hours constructing an essay which really doesn't impact on your life in any way, shape or form. At least when you do depend upon an essay assessment, there's a little bit of paper waving at the end of the tunnel. It's an obvious and sensible motivator.
I think this comes down partly to my view of my identity. I never used to view myself as an academic. It was only after I discovered my Thesis was good enough to get the second highest grade, (I thought I would fail), that I started to associate the thought of myself with being part of academia, truly. I ignored the times I got quite good marks for essays throughout my degree because I felt I had 'been lucky'. I even ignored the times I got good marks despite the fact I had hardly spent the time worthy of devoting to such complex issues. I never felt I was good enough to be doing honours, so the thought of actually doing well at honours level English was a complete non-entity. I discovered I actually had done well and after that, it was too late. I was doing my incredibly boring Education degree.
Now here I am, a pseudo-intellectual without a cause. I think about all of those wasted opportunities of sharing my researched opinions and I threw them away. I feel sad that I'm not doing that kind of degree anymore.
No sane, reasonable person feels like this. Especially when the thought is so hypocritical. I never liked doing the work then, why on earth would I miss doing it now?