> I had gone to college planning to become a writer, but early on a scientific tendency appeared. In the English department at Harvard, my writing style was severely criticized and I was receiving grades of C or C+ on my papers. At eighteen, I was vain about my writing and felt it was Harvard, and not I, that was in error, so I decided to make an experiment. The next assignment was a paper on Gulliver’s Travels, and I remembered an essay by George Orwell that might fit. With some hesitation, I retyped Orwell’s essay and submitted it as my own. I hesitated because if I were caught for plagiarism I would be expelled; but I was pretty sure that my instructor was not only wrong about writing styles, but poorly read as well. In any case, George Orwell got a B- at Harvard, which convinced me that the English department was too difficult for me. I decided to study anthropology instead. But I doubted my desire to continue as a graduate student in anthropology, so I began taking premed courses, just in case.
TooShiftyForYou: *He was only 14 when a travel piece he had written was published in The New York Times, and four years later, in 1960, he enrolled at Harvard with ambitions to become a writer. When an English professor criticised his writing style, however, Crichton switched to anthropology.*
*Although he was awarded a medical degree in 1969, and spent a year as a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, he had already determined to be a writer rather than a doctor.*
He went out of his way to earn a medical degree because of that professor.
joshuapir: This happened to me! I was taking an online English class with a friend at a community college. English was his second language, so he would always ask me to edit his papers. It was like polishing a turd, and I don’t think it was just a language barrier issue. I wasn’t going to rewrite every sentence so I’d just fix some punctuation and spelling and call it a day. Imagine my surprise when he was getting A’s and I was getting C’s and B’s. I would email the professor and ask what I could do to improve or specifics on why I got the grade. He never offered an example from my paper and gave me vague advice like “reread chapter 6, I know that’s where you writing is lacking.” So one day I submitted my biology notes, which were in a weird format not a .doc or .pdf, instead of an essay. Got a B+, with the comment “next time include more detail.” Piece of shit probably never opened any of my assignments.
not_homestuck: [His Wikipedia page is fascinating.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Crichton) He was also 6’9″!
klsi832: ‘I would have given you an A, but I don’t like plagiarism.’
MOCK_OG: Damn, TIL that Michael Crichton is dead! I have been living under a rock…
SpeakLikeAChild04: steve buscemi did the same thing once when he was a firefighter during a 311 concert
dragonquestazzy: Not knowing what happened to that professor bugs me.
robo23: He also used a pseudonym when he was writing as a medical student. On one of his rotations as a student, he listened to his attendings talk shit about his novel without saying a word.
BattleRoyaleWtCheese: At one point Crichton has the number one TV series (ER) , number one book Disclosure and number one movie at the box office Jurrasic Park. His bibliography is outstanding.
He believed global warming was a hoax though.
SwissGarda: [TIL Epicallytossed, karma >100,000, believed that reddit was giving him unfair credit. To prove it, he turned in a submission from melshole. He received 7416 upvotes.](https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/1qz9d9/til_michael_crichton_author_of_jurassic_park_felt/)
teqsutiljebelwij: He changed the parameters of the test. Probably got a commendation for original thinking.
RemoteProvider: Why is it assumed that a paper from Orwell would get an A? It could have easily gotten a lower grade because it wasn’t specifically on topic, etc.
This was not a good test.
ThEgPl: Im German. In germany back then in the 6th grade (now 4th grad) our teacher recommends in which school were going afterwards. We have Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium (which is Lower, middle and academic high school…maybe). My teacher was an old guy 60+ who didn’t like me. He was the teacher of the majority of my subjects. I had trouble’s back then in family and was hyperactive which my teacher hated. He gave me the recommendation for the lower high school, because “I have no talent in languages and mathematics”. However my mum put me into middle-high school and i made my a-level afterwards. Now I speak 3 languages fluently, work in finance and accounting, because i love mathematics and languages and have a pretty good life.
Stories like this make me angry. Teachers / Professors have so much power over the WHOLE future of they students and yet are often so badly trained to see the potential of them. I all the time wonder how many Hemingways and Steven Hawkings having shitty jobs and never even had the chance to show their full potential. But I guess that’s life. A big piece of luck is needed all the time.
Riyuk13: I once helped a female friend in school on their coursework for history and on review found our submissions to be almost identical in terms of argument and quality of language just in a slightly different order. My teacher gave me a D and my friend an A. I had it regraded by another teacher and it got bumped to an A, which was enough for someone to review the teachers markings and found her to be consistently sexist in the grading of papers, and she left a year after that, was a happy day as she’d done similarly to my brother when she was in his class
Mashimoto: English department writing rubric:
C/C+ = your opinion significantly differs from the professor
B- = you did not consult the professor before writing
A- = you consulted the professor and used some of their ideas in the paper
A = you consulted the professor after each draft and use mostly their ideas
dc21111: That paper was actually Orwell’s first draft for a little story called “Billy and the Cloneasaurus.”