CONFESSIONALS: MPA, ALA . . . I couldn’t tell you the difference

Hyperlinks are the future for lost souls like mine

Marissa Ouyang

Written by Devana Petrovic, Staff Writer

For much too long, I’ve been a pretender. I’ve fooled everyone — but I can’t smile in silence anymore. No, I am not guilty of identity theft (anymore). Worse: I still can’t figure out the difference between APA and MLA. 

Maybe it’s because of my primary school years, when I first put my name on another kid’s addition and subtraction homework. Or my time in high school, when I refused to provide a works cited, no matter which assignment it was for, in spite of the school librarian’s lectures on “the importance of citations.” As if she was going to tell me what to do. 

Perhaps some part of me just refuses to learn because my helplessly creative mind simply rejects anything boring. The point is, somehow, I’ve gotten myself to college. Now, I cannot differentiate MSG 7 and APA XS. I’ve written every single paper using the same citation style — and I don’t even know which one it is. 

But with both of these citation styles constantly growing, can you even blame me? Last time I checked, MP3 was 7 and now she’s 8? It’s ridiculous. Girl, if you want me to understand you, stop changing and just be yourself! Because I’m not responsible for your coming-of-age identity collapse. 

Even now, I’m staring down my latest essay draft. Is this where I type a comma? Or is it time for (The Author’s Last Words As Spoken On Their Deathbed et al, 1932)? That’s the question I’m left with, and I thought you were supposed to answer my questions, SFU. Nothing could be less beneficial than me wasting an extra hour figuring out the difference between MTV and AT&T.

I mean, at the end of the day, I’m just going to go onto a sketchy citation generator website and pick the style that looks prettiest. Perhaps I will be jailed for not bracketing the author’s last name, mother’s maiden name, and birth certificate information after every other word. I heard that somewhere, but somehow I couldn’t say where.

And all that effort, just to have an exploited and underpaid TA skim past the lovechild I’ve adopted from Mg3(AsO4)2 and AOL Mobile. Don’t be fooled: that TA doesn’t care about me or the “academic journal abstract” I got my information from. Not when their thesis supervisor still has them learning Chicago style. 

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