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Three weeks ago, I posted “Dissertation Revisited“, ending with a plea for help with APA format.  A former student responded via email.  Her memory serves to remind us “former teachers” that our students actually do remember some things they’re taught!

I had to laugh when you asked for help with APA format. When I put Christmas decorations away in January, I found a box labeled “College Stuff” so I took it down and found the first paper that I wrote for you in Nursing 305.  It was the NP/SCDT [Nursing Process/Self-Care Deficit Theory] paper.

You gave the papers back to us and considered them our first draft because, had you not, you would have had to fail us due to errors in APA and grammar.

Do you remember having us rewrite that paper? I wondered if you had done that with other classes or if just the class of ‘92 had such trouble. You must have put a lot of time into correcting each first draft’s APA errors as well as grammar issues. Then you typed a two page letter on TCC [Trinity Christian College] letterhead explaining what mistakes were made. My favorite comment is, “I really was thinking that many of you had no apostrophe on your typewriters. This was a major omission throughout the papers.”  

I said to my husband, this is classic Lois Roelofs, compassion for her students in letting us redo the paper and wanting us to succeed, and yet still holding us to the highest standards.

It was so fun to look at all that again. You gave me an A on the final paper and wrote, “Do get over and learn the computer, it will save you much grief in the future.”  Can you imagine a 40 something professor saying that to a 20 something college student now??? 

So, give yourself a break on learning new technology. You abandoned your electric typewriter way before I did!

 Amy Nagelkirk, RN, BSN, Trinity Christian College, Class of 1992

Thanks, Amy, for the fun memory and the permission to print this. I’ve forgotten, of course, but it sounds like something I would do–all in the interest of making each student proud not just of the content of their papers but of their mastery of the newly required APA style. And so you’d find something like this some twenty years later and still be proud of the final result!

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