professor
Donna Paparella

Dec 2018

This was not my first choice class for a multitude of reasons and ending up in it was rough. I will say the good part first: I truly learned how to write. I did end up producing one excellent paper at the end. Frankly, I was scared of meeting with her. I went to meet with her pretty much every step of the way for every single one of my papers and I left her office a hysterical mess. She is BRUTAL on papers, your ideas, justifications, etc. I tried to speak in class but ended up having my ideas torn up by her in class and it was an embarrassing, dread-inducing experience. I understand that she's trying to get us to stand up for our interpretations and back them up with evidence but it just ends up being an uncomfortable time for everyone involved. With regard to the papers, she wants you to write her way and that's it. There is no other method if you want a passing (yes, passing) grade. Any deviation from her method results in a D or an F. I would recommend against taking her class because I am certain that there are other professors who will turn you into just as good of a writer without being as hurtful.

Nov 2018

Professor Paparella has an interesting approach to her FYW class, Legacy of the Mediterranean. As a person she has been easy to talk to and is understanding of our tired faces at 8:40 in the morning. But, it is hard to ignore the fact that she was quite disorganized the first few classes we had. We never got to discuss readings as much as we hoped, something that would have helped all of us with the ideas we had since old Greek texts aren't exactly easy to understand. There were times when it felt like she would only accept our ideas if they matched her thought process. She has very specific expectations in terms of essay writing and structure. If you don't meet her standards she will make it very obvious. While she tries to communicate how we should write and gives a lot of worksheets meant to help us get there, its hard because of how different it is from the structure most high schools, at least in the States, teach their students about writing. Its frustrating to be expected to completely change to a new style of writing so quickly. I also feel like we could have gotten so much more done in her class being that we saw her for over an hour twice a week. We would never get through everything she had planned and we didn't discuss the text as much as I feel we should have in order to understand the thoughts we were having regarding the text since it would have helped us when putting those idea into an essay. Generally, not happy about how this class turned out but cant say I hated it since a lot of the texts were interesting and I liked how she connected our topics to political events that were occurring around us. Also, the one on one meetings with her were helpful but would often leave realizing she wants me to change my essay completely a week before it was due.

Dec 2017

This is not a first choice class and I understand why after taking it. Professor Paparella has just started working at Barnard and giving her the benefit of the doubt, I went into her class with an open mind. However, it was a very rough class. Although her expectations are clearly labelled on the syllabus, I cannot stress enough, how chaotic this class was. There are many rough draft assignments for the same big essay and not once, did she give them back in a timely manner. Instead, Professor Paparella staples your drafts to your final, graded draft, which is not helpful in the slightest. She is also a very harsh grader, with the highest score being a B plus on all the papers. The other twelve girls and me were constantly under the stress of not knowing what our grade was, because nothing was given back and she demolishes essays during office hours. This was another terrible aspect of the class: she tells you very close to the deadline that your essay is not good and that you should revise.

Oct 2016

Prof. Paparella is a nice lady for the most part, except she is lowkey really brutal about essays and even your ideas. She cannot lead discussion very well, mainly because she shoots people's ideas down and then questions them in an attempt to get you to assert your answer which 9/10 times failed and instead just embarrassed the student. I dreaded this class every single day and so did the 15 other girls who were in my class. It was unenjoyable because no one wanted to participate in discussion, no one ever knew what she wanted on the essays which resulted in a lot of anxiety, and leg of med is just shit in general because the books are ancient and not very engaging. She wants you to write her way or no way at all and her way is completely different than what most of us learned back in highschool. As far as grading goes, however, she's really understanding about essay grades and if you screw one up she'll weigh the other one so as not to count the bad one. Overall I would recommend avoiding legacy in general unless youre into the aeneid and old texts and okay with being mildly confused the whole semester.