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English 122 Grading Standards

The following essays were written as final exams. They provide insight into English Department expectations for English 122 students. The writing prompt appears below in italics.

 

WRITING PROMPT:

Write an essay in response to the following question. You have 75 minutes to complete your work. Write your essay in the booklet provided. Be sure to make detailed reference to the text of the essay to which you are responding. Include internal parenthetical references including author and page numbers. You may refer to your annotated essay, handbook, and dictionary.

Do we spend time wisely or do we waste time? How should we be spending our time? Write an essay of between 500 and 700 words in which you respond to Peggy Noonan's views on time. Begin with a summary of Noonan's main points. Then define and defend your position on how we should spend our time. Where appropriate, consider personal experiences and current events in your response, particularly the events of September 11 and how they have influenced our perception of time.

To see the article students read, click here: Noonan

 

ENGLISH 122: EXAMPLE OF AN "A" PAPER

In "There is No Time, There Will Be Time," Peggy Noonan explores our conceptions of time. "There is no such thing as time" (1) she writes as she challenges us to reexamine our notion of chronology. Through technological advancement, she believes, we should be able to take advantage of leisure activities such as vacations, but she laments the fact that we never seem to have enough time to enjoy such activities properly. While we have the world of comfort at our fingertips, as we can "touch small levers and heat our homes to exactly the degree we desire" (1), we simply don't use the time such conveniences save us to improve our lives.

Noonan explains that technical advancements, such as the fax machine and pager, were invented to help us "work more efficiently" (2), but they really seem to make us work harder. She reexamines the common belief that more work equals more pay, which in turn will allow us to take more vacations and enjoy life. The author argues that, we are so busy making money working, we don’t have all the time we need to spend with friends and families. Indeed, she does a good job of describing the hectic life of an average family. Between work for the parents, and school and afternoon activities for the children, there is little time for valuable family interaction.

Noonan pleads we should plan and savor our lives and that we should spend our time more wisely--on family, ourselves, and other important considerations--because we don’t get second chances to undo what we have done. She speaks of life's having "more options, more possibilities" (3) than it did 50 years ago, when it was much simpler. Indeed, our ability to make decisions about how to use our time illustrates the real freedom we have. It also presents us with a dilemma: such options are beneficial, claims Noonan, but they make our lives more hectic because we feel as though we must pursue all of them.

I agree with Noonan; there are endless possibilities from day to day--things we must do and things that can be put off until tomorrow--and perhaps we should pay closer attention to the difference. Noonan argues that, as a generation, we have been extremely lucky to be able to focus most of our time on work or on personal and selfish interests. Moreover, she challenges us to realize that such safety cannot exist forever and has seldom existed in the past. Considering that this essay was written several years ago, it is astonishing that Noonan can predict with certainty a time when the United States would come under attack by an insane enemy. On Sept. 11, 2001, of course, disaster struck. And the attack on America did seem to make time stand still. In this moment, many people, including me, realized how much time they had wasted in their lives. I think back to all the time and energy I have lost. I have spent the majority of my life following the path of money. I have neglected my family and friends to take that extra job and work just one more day a week or just a few more hours each evening. As a result, I have some measure of financial stability, but I am not happy. I have few close relationships and I am generally lonely. What has my sacrifice, of perhaps the most precious commodity--time brought me? I, like Noonan, am no longer sure it has been worth it. Along with many other Americans, I am currently reevaluating how I will spend whatever time I have left. Yes, Noonan is correct, we must look at time as a finite commodity and spend it more wisely.

 

ENGLISH 122: EXAMPLE OF A "B" PAPER

In our global village, people are always engulfed in the hustle and bustle of the world. In an article published in The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan states her opinion on how people manage their time. Noonan states that "we would feel amazement, or even a mild disorientation, if we were busy feeling and thinking long thoughts instead of doing" (1). By this she means that people today have a need to feel busy. It would be awkward to sit and daydream instead of working.

I believe that she is right in her assumption. If you go to any office building in the country, especially in the "Tri-State Area," you would see people engrossed in their jobs. Noonan explores whether life should be this way. If life has to be full of "multi-tasking," a word that has only recently found its way into the English language, then where is the time for freedom and relaxation? Our brains suffer terribly from the constant ads being flashed at us on the television, and I don’t think being a "couch potato" helps.

Children today suffer from Attention Deficit Disorders for which I blame television as well as what Noonan calls "more possibilities" (Noonan, 3). This overstimulation, according to Noonan, includes clubs and after school activities that all parents want for their children. The soccer games, the computer camps, and play dates are only some of the examples that Noonan lists. Noonan claims that by the end of the day, her children are "dead eyed, like denizens of a Chinese opium den" (Noonan 3). Because life is so much more interesting today than it was in the past, and we have so many options, we are left exhausted because of our pursuance of them.

Our hopes are, that if we work hard enough, we can go on vacations and afford more leisure time. "If you can buy time, you should buy it. This year I am going to work very hard to get some" (Noonan, 3). Noonan believes that if she meets her deadlines at work, and if she works overtime, she will be able to afford leisure time. With a mortgage to pay as well as tuition for my wife and myself, I feel the same way. But there are days that I sit down and think to myself, how did I get suckered into this lifestyle? To this I have no answer, I only know that I’m not alone.

The future holds part of the key to this pondering. "I am going to work real hard to get some (time off)" (Noonan, 3) leads me to believe that the hope of one day not having to work so hard one day is our motivation for continuing the monotony. "The rich have time because they buy it." (3) According to Noonan, the rich can afford time off because they can pay people to work in their stead, and take care of their others. But this, I feel, is not entirely accurate. In my experience, more money brings bigger and more problems. After working for a catering company for several years, I can say that although the owners are set for life, any and every problem is their problem. If an employee doesn’t show up for work, it is their headache, if a banquet doesn’t go as planned, it is their problem. I am comforted by the fact that I can go to work and pay my bills while simultaneously not having to worry about annoying details.

This thought changed my "perspective and priorities, dramatically, and for longer then a while." (Noonan, 5). I am no longer a whore for the money, rather content with what I have. I have a home, a wife, and a job. I need nothing else but safety. In today's quick money times I feel that societies technological boom, now works against us. With anthrax in the mail, airplanes leveling parts of cities, and war throughout the modern world, humanity is in for a rude awakening. I believe that there are "things that keep God from letting us kill us all" (Noonan, 5), but the question is, how many will be left alive?

 

ENGLISH 122: EXAMPLE OF A "C" PAPER

"There is not Time, There Will Be Time" by Peggy Noonan is an essay where she tells us about how we use time and how we either waste it or use it efficiently. She points out that in the past people used time differently because they had to work differently than today. She argues that today we waste more time than in the past because we have many conveniences that do a lot of work for us. People many generations ago had to do a lot of the work themselves.

Do we spend time wisely or do we waste it? That all depends on what each person does with their time. Some people plan ahead with how much time they need to with whatever they plan on doing. Then there are those people who do not plan ahead with their time and do whatever they do without thinking twice about how much time they are wasting. They are the ones who end up getting burned because they did not utilize their time that could have been useful to them.

Should we spend our time more efficiently? Things are a lot different now than they were a few decades. Our grandmothers had more time to spend with our parents because mothers back then didn’t have the responsibility of working. Noonan stresses this at the end of page 3 and the beginning of page 4. "Good news: Mothers do not become secret valium addicts out of boredom and loneliness as they did 30 and 40 years ago." (Noonan, pg.1) Our fathers now have more interesting things to say than our grandfathers when they were middle aged. This is something that Noonan also stretches. "And Dad’s conversation is more interesting than his father’s. He knows how Michael Jordan acted on the Nike shoot, and tells us." (Noonan, pg 1) If we spend more time concentrating on the things we need to do that’s more important things that we need to take care of first, then in reality we are not wasting time but using it more efficiently.

Everyone at some point in their lives have wasted time and not realized it. I have a perfect example of how I wasted time and paid for it. About three years ago I thought about becoming a bartender. I thought it was a great idea because it was a way to meet new people, have a more active social life, and make money. So I enrolled at The National Bartenders School in Woodbridge. The program only took 2 weeks to complete. After I was done I was a certified "mixologist" and took down some numbers that they had for establishments that needed bartenders. I applied at several places, but to my dissappointment no one would hire me. I called each one several times but there was no luck. I was devastated over the outcome. I was also very angry that I had spent those 2 weeks for absolutely nothing. I thought about trying again but I felt it would have another waste of time. I’ve learned from that by not jumping into something if it is not going to work out.

No matter how we utilize time, we end up wasting it and do not even realize it. If we perfected our use of time the world would be almost perfect. If we completely wasted our time we would live in a world of chaos. So wasting time and using it efficiently makes the world a better place.

 

ENGLISH 122: EXAMPLE OF A "D" PAPER

Noonan’s article on time is about how we utilize it. With modern technologies that are supposed to help make time is really making no time. The more advance you are the greater the need to accomplished more goals, and this produces less time. Noonan states that we are too busy making appointments and consultations that we do no have any leisure time. The more anyone has, the more they have to work.

Noonan states that when we were younger we had time to enjoy games eat dinner with the family, watch TV and lights will go out after your favorite show was over.

Now we living in the age of for advanced technology where what might be in the past is now the future. The entertainment industry has provided such events that what might of happened 50 years ago is now happening with such reality one tends to wonder if its for real. Do we spend our time wisely?

Noonan states that with all the technologies we have invented we should have more leisure time. This is not so because the new technologies have taken on our leisure time. Noonan goes on to give an example of how with modern technologie you can be beeped on a safari. Noonan was referring how far advance technology has come. Twenty years ago this would not have been possible on the job. Noonan says that everyday they had to track down their roving foreign correspondents and get them on the phone for their broadcasts, and it would infrequently say unreachable, unfindable, or out of pocket.

We are not spending time wisely. If with all the modern technologies, we should have more time right? No. The more we have the more we want. The more we want the more we have to work and invent to accomplish are desires.

When it comes to spending time with our families we are too tired to do so or we find other things to do to unwind. We call ourselves working at home to be near the family and spending more time with them, but in reality your bring work life into your family life.

Noonan states that when a man works at home he lowers the wall that separates the work place from the living place. I find this to be true because I’am always taking home work that needs to be done at school, but I could not finish it due to lack of time. At home instead of taking the much needed time to unwind from work I find myself still at work, bogged down with the same problems that were at work and trying to find solutions to them. This infringes on the time I’am suppose to be spending with my husband, like sitting down and enjoying a good movie or his company. Noonan states that we should spend more time on things that matter like children who are less fortunate then we are.

Taking time to invest into some else’s life can be the greatest gift of all. You would feel that you have accomplished your biggest goal in life when you take the time to do this.The person that you invest time in could be our next President, Governor, or Senator. Or it could be giving a child the encouragement to strive for goals that they knew were unreachable because of some deformity, or sickness. Time is a gift from God who wants to see if we use it wisely. Do we take the time to pray or do we pray only when its necessary.

 

ENGLISH 122: EXAMPLE OF AN "F" PAPER

In Ms. Noonan’s essay about time she makes several good points about how we waste time and that it should be considered valuable. As people of the modern world we tend to put more enfasis on what we want instead of what we have. The convience of technology is taking away more of the spare time it was meant to create. For example, you got a cell phone so you could spend less time in the office and more time at home with your family. However, you may physically spend more time with them but while driving to the amusement park for a day of fun you are closing a deal with the Orlando office. As Ms. Noonan (1998) says "Maybe our kids will remember us as there but not there, physically present but carrying the faces of men and woman who are strategizing the sale" (p.3). The cell phone is only one example. Pagers, email, and home offices are more examples of how technology robes us of our spare time.

When thinking of recent events I have found that I miss my "quality time" with my family. I can not remember the last non-holiday family dinner we all had together. Every night, on the news, you hear of more anthrax or more bombing. Our children are growing up right before our eyes but we are missing it because we think if I work hard and long now, I can enjoy it later. Well there may not be a later if things keep going this way. Since September 11, 2001 I have made the time that my son deserves. I work less and play more. When its just the two of us at the park the phone and pager are in the car turned off. That is our special time together and I will never get that time back.

I think that we all whether it is with our parents, kids, or just close friends need to shut out the "outside world" and enjoy one another. I know that most fear that something huge will happen and you will miss it if you turn the phone, fax, pager, or computer off but trust me whatever your missing while with your loved ones is worth missing. As we all have heard a million times from the survivors and victums familys of the tradgey on September 11th you just never know when the end will come. We all hope for some kind of warning before our time is up. But that may not be the case. So never go to bed angry and always count your blessings because you never know what tomorrow will hold or even if there will be a tomorrow.