The Truth About Auto-Failure

Auto-fails. It's a made-up word, but to those in my course it's as real as student debt. We can automatically fail assignments if they are one minute late, misspelled proper nouns, and proper nouns not capitalized.

We fear auto-fails like herpes; we try to protect ourselves against them, but sometimes they just sneak in there anyway.

Auto-fails have driven some of my classmates to near madness, compulsively checking over their assignments 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 times. It's not good for the ol' mental health. People are starting to focus more on auto-fails than the content they're writing. To me, this is a problem. Substance should win.

I actually enjoy leaning back in my chair and combing through my paper, looking up words to make sure they're correct. It's kind of relaxing compared to actually writing the thing. I have to know when to stop, though, because if I check it over more than twice it starts to feel stressful. There comes a point where I have to stop looking at it, and just hand it in. In the meantime, I try to stay away from last-minute panicked posts in our class Facebook group.

This school thing has changed the way I look at writing. I see things that I never saw before, which is neat, but also feels a bit sad. Like a kid who just found out Santa's not real, other people's writing has lost some of its magic. It's hard not to look at sentence structure, cliches, and grammar with a critical eye. That being said, when I read writing that is done well, it's such a treat.