CRITIQUE Dear Jane, I read your persuasive essay with by tyty722



Dear Jane,

I read your persuasive essay with great interest. What strikes me most about your writing
is its precision and focus—you have a natural ability to clearly and effectively articulate
your ideas. Your writing is reflective, persuasive and accessible. Overall, you have done
some fantastic work and provided a great foundation from which to start. However, I
have a number of suggestions for you in order to improve upon this essay and take your
writing to the next level.

First of all, I would like to push your thinking on your thesis. Your fundamental
argument is that because of the sheer work volume your generation manages, multi-
tasking is a necessity. However, ‘multi-tasking’ is not clearly defined in your essay. You
use examples like Facebook, iPhone, iTunes, and YouTube, but all of these tools are
social connecting mechanisms or legitimate distractions from ‘real’ work. Therefore, I
would like to see you sharpen your argument a little more. How do these tools help you to
expedite research? How do you leverage these tools to help you accomplish ‘real’ work?
In what ways are you truly ‘multi-tasking,’ that is using these tools at one time? Fleshing
out the answers to these questions will help to make your essay infinitely clearer and
more convincing.

Next, I would like to address the issue of language style. Though I found your prose to be
very precise, at times your language sounded too informal. I understand the temptation to
revert to more colloquial expressions and word choice, since the research topic does ask
for your generation’s point of view on a very modern issue—but this should be avoided
in an academic, persuasive paper. For example, you write:

“When offered so much, our generation refuses to sit back and miss the many things
thrown at us.”

“Finding a solution to de-stress our crazy lives is somewhat impossible.”

Much of the lingo here is too colloquial—‘sit back,’ ‘thrown at us,’ ‘destress…crazy
lives,’ etc. Though I do not advocate that your prose become more stilted, I would
recommend that we take a second look at your essay to pinpoint vocabulary that should
be elevated a notch.

Word choice is another area where subtle changes can make dramatic improvements on
your work. First of all, you should find a word that identifies your demographic—the
demographic around which this thesis is built. I suggest ‘Generation Y,’ but you may find
a term that you like better. I would also recommend that you pinpoint an expression for
people’s habitual shifting between technological devices: below I suggest “media-
surfing.” This will help to make your language more insightful and crisp, and inventing a
term that makes good sense could also earn you a place on Wikipedia!
Concision is important to consider in any writing form. However, in a persuasive paper
like this, every sentence must introduce new facts, observations or analysis. Otherwise,
your thesis loses momentum, and you lose your reader’s interest. For example,
throughout your essay, you write:

“Multitasking, even with its obvious drawbacks, is beneficial because of the many new
resources and the ability to know more information faster and inescapable for our
generation because of the heavy workload we are given.”

“We possess the technology and the resources to expand our worlds far beyond what
people could twenty years ago.”

“With the amount of work Generation Y is expected to manage, we have no choice but to
multitask. Our generation is given the burden and the potential of new technology and
the many new inventions it makes possible.”

You will see that I have worked to streamline your prose below, and consolidated these
very similar observations. Again, in terms of your thesis—language here can also be
sharper. What do you mean by ‘expanding your world?’ Again, are you referring to
social networking, or more broadly to how you retrieve information and manage your
own workload?

On a final note, titles are often the most difficult part of an essay to write, because they
can substantially enhance or detract from your paper’s impact. Your current title, Endless
Opportunities, does not really encompass your theme or generate much interest. What
kind of title can we create that will initially pique your reader’s interest and reflect the
core argument of your essay?

I look forward to hearing from you soon and working through a final revision together. I
think you have done some fantastic work with this paper, but with a little more
development, we can truly make it stellar.

Best of luck!

IvyEyes Editor

      Generation Y and Multi-Tasking in the 21st Century: Adaptation or Handicap?

Why do we multi-task? Does multi-tasking improve or impair the efficiency of our
work? Do we overwork ourselves to the point of exhaustion? Are we actually learning
what we study? Many researchers contend that Generation Y is overworked, stressed, and
unproductive because email, iChat, iPhones and Facebook provide distractions from real
work. Edmundson claims that we rely too much on technology and must slow down to
learn anything well. His assertion is problematic, though, because to ‘slow down’ is
impossible. In a universe where technology and, by extension, multi-tasking are
irrevocable parts of reality, the onus is upon us to utilize technology in a way that
enhances – rather than distracts from – the depth of our personal and professional

Today’s high school graduates are busier than ever before, striving to complete all daily
assignments, score a perfect 2400 on the SAT, attend the most prestigious, selective
college, and land the ultimate job. With the amount of work Generation Y is expected to
manage, we have no choice but to multi-task. In his article “Dwelling in Possibility,”
Edmundson says of Generation Y, “They live to multiply possibilities. They’re enemies
of closure… They always strive to keep their options open, never to shut possibilities
down before they have to” (1). This tendency to “keep options open” – facilitated in
large part by the volume and speed of information technology affords us – is a natural
reaction to the increasing demands placed on us. To accomplish all that we are supposed
to, we must do some of each rather than fully completing one task then systematically
moving onto the next. We cannot find enough hours in the day to finish everything we
are expected to do, and multi-tasking allows us to attempt to finish and streamline all that
is expected of us.

The multi-tasking that fuels our productivity, however, also threatens to keep us in a
constant state of distraction. We experiment with new gadgets and computer programs
while also finishing our day-to-day schoolwork, working on multiple college
applications, and keeping good grades to gain entry into those highly selective
institutions. Sports, friends and social activities stretch our lives to their fullest capacity.
In past decades, televisions, VCR players and the like created widespread curiosity and
dependency. Today, the concept of ‘channel surfing’ has been reincarnated and
amplified: many would assert that we “media-surf.” In the technological world, history
consistently repeats itself, and this is no exception.

Technological innovations have provided us with limitless new information and stimuli:
with the click of a mouse on a computer, or swipe of the finger on an iPhone, one can
find the weather, stock reports, YouTube, and iTunes. With the clear advantages of multi-
tasking, though, come several drawbacks. With the many opportunities given to us, we
want to accomplish everything. But by doing everything, we end up never fully
completing one thing. While multi-tasking does get more tasks completed faster,
researchers like Edmundson maintain that we must learn to slow down, focus, and fully
complete one task before moving to the next. Edmundson claims that by doing so much,
we are not able to take it all in and therefore are not living our lives to the fullest. We are
trying to “be everywhere now” (2). What he does not fully acknowledge, though, is that
the world we live in demands that we are “everywhere now.” To resist this would be to
reject the deeply entrenched rhythms and realities of modern life.

These tools with which we multi-task not only help keep us connected to the world and
network with our peers and professional circles; they also expedite our work and
research. Without adequate time to work on each homework problem, read each chapter,
and stay connected with the people in our lives, simultaneously working on projects
represents our only viable option. Finding a solution to decompress or simplify our
dynamic, fast-paced lives is somewhat impossible. Multitasking ultimately is beneficial
and inevitable for our generation because of our increased workload and the
technological innovations of the past two decades. Twenty years ago, the opportunities
that technology offered were almost nonexistent. Today, computers have advanced from
the size of a small room to a small device that fits in your pocket containing a cell phone,
iPod, calendar, and computer all in one. Our world will continue evolving, spawning
new, exciting forms of communication and making us busier. We will never be able to
limit our desire to stay connected or to take on more work than we can handle.
Computers will continue to get smaller, faster, cheaper and easier. Multi-tasking will be
our lifeline.

Edmundson goes on to argue that our generation is incapable of living in the now. He
explains, “My students live in the future, and not the present; they live with their
prospects for success and pleasure” (5). On the contrary, we are more “in the now” than
ever, precisely because of our ability to communicate at all times. Our generation lives
both for the present moment and for future possibilities. Watching television shows,
checking the weather, reading the news, and downloading music on the computer are all
simple, quick transactions. Our resources keep us intimately connected. We see the
season premier of Gossip Girl on YouTube before it airs on television; we know the
weather prediction for the next ten days; we have daily reports about the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Having our fingertips on the future, so to speak, allows us to act
accordingly in the present; we have high-reaching goals, and we work hard to achieve
them. Juggling new technology and gadgets continues to aid us in being more “in the
know” and more connected with what is going on in our world.

Instead of trying to make our lives less stressful, we must find ways to effectively cope
with the demands of the modern age. We should direct our energies not toward slowing
down or scaling back on technology, but toward multi-tasking more mindfully. Rather
than passively dawdling on Facebook or surfing through hours of YouTube footage, we
must actively use these technologies to inform our goals. As we become experts at this
sort of multi-tasking, we must find balance and effectively leverage these tools in ways
can enrich the way we interact with others and impact the world.

To top