Just ChatGPT it!

BY Emma Lalor | May 24, 2023 | Student Essay Awards, Student Writings

“Just chatGPT it!” has become a common joke in my friend group as of late. Long essay that you forgot about? Just chatGPT it! Free-response question on your quiz you forgot to study for? Just chatGPT it! Email due to your research coordinator that you may or may not have been putting off for a few weeks? Just chatGPT it!

I’m starting to hate this joke. I never write anything without writing out notes by hand first. I chronically edit my pieces in a way that would make anyone watching dizzy from how often I jump around the page. I always make it a point to have friends read over my writing to see if I can improve it in any way, if it’s too clunky or if there’s a transition that would work better than something I’ve already written. Writing has always been a means of bonding with people, especially in exchanging works with someone and critiquing and praising their hard work. Something is so sacred in handing a copy of your draft — first, second, final, whichever – to a voracious reader, entrusting them with the words that have only existed in your own head and page for who knows how long, asking them to return it marked and maimed for the sake of a good story, a good paper, a good article.

Using chatGPT for this age-old tradition has made writing a cold and lonely pastime. I used to be excited to have my sister, my boyfriend, my parents, my friends read over my work before turning it in for a grade or for a workshop or a writing group; that excitement is gone. Gone is the intimacy of another editor, gone is the thrill of hearing another person tell you “Great use of that metaphor,” gone is the moment of clarity when another writer reads your work and finds a new way for you to phrase something that far surpasses your ability alone. Instead, all that remains is a cold computer screen, illuminating your mistakes in a dark chat box that rewrites your draft into a rigid, grammatically perfect piece devoid of life.

Don’t get me wrong, using chatGPT has been revolutionary for fixing grammatical errors. A lot of times, it takes a second or third read through my drafts to find the missing punctuation or spelling errors that truly make or break my pieces, and this program can find them in an instant. I can often find words that are on the tip of my tongue using the program much faster than I can by simply searching for synonyms or similar phrases on Google. But in the sacred rite of creating and editing, you cannot get any better than the human hand.

I know that a lot of people now use chatGPT to complete essays and assignments for school, but there is no learning taking place if you use an artificial intelligence to write a paper for you. It’s in the name — that intelligence that is displayed in the paper is completely fake. ChatGPT could be a wonderful tool for editing and perfecting writings, but it completely takes the human element of writing away from finished pieces. Especially in the process of learning and writing about your own findings, there is nothing as valuable as creating your own piece and editing it down to a writing that is truly your own style and hard work. Writing shows your own personality, a piece of your soul that is truly passionate about the subject matter, and brings it to a form that others can view and understand. It also often helps you better appreciate the research and work that you put into each essay.

If you don’t believe me, just chatGPT it.