Receiving feedback on essays

Looking back, reflecting on feedback hasn’t really been something I’ve done. The past few times I’ve had marks back from my first semester at university, I’ve just looked at the grade and clicked off the results.

Back in school/ sixth form, we would discuss our grades and feedback with teachers, so it was easier to take in. But here at uni, the feedback system is so different to what I’m used to.

I received my essay and presentation grades back a few months ago, and I really did just check to see what grade I had, then left the work in the past. After speaking to the student support tutor at my department, it was nice to look through my first ever uni essay, look over the feedback and really understand how important it is to look at feedback and somewhat digest it. Before this chat, I honestly thought feedback was more of a criticism of what you’ve done wrong, and I would see it as a way of saying “you’ve messed up on this essay.” But now I know that feedback is the tutor’s way of helping you out. They could just throw a grade at you and leave you to take that in and forget about it, but they don’t. They spend time to give you valuable feedback which is all to help you with future essays.

Even now, I still don’t like comments on my essays, as I often feel like I’ve made such simple mistakes, or that the marker hasn’t really understood what I meant in my work. But reading through feedback can help spark those little things in your mind. Those silly little mistakes that you made,when they’re shown to you, can help you realise how something can slip from your mind when you’re under the pressure of working to a deadline.

I definitely feel more prepared for the next set of essays I have due in this semester, and I know that when I do receive feedback, it’ll be beneficial and will help me. I can look back on my first essay, and use that feedback to help myself develop my essay skills and be well prepared for the next essay.

I think the thing that made me dread feedback so much was that I didn’t know what to think of it and how to react. There’s something so daunting about seeing a paragraph of writing from a tutor telling you what you’ve done right, but mainly areas you could improve on. Especially when this is the first time you’ve had to experience a form of feedback in this particular way.

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