Similarities between two different things?
November 16, 2010 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Give me an idea of two very different things, that I could show similarities between -- that relate to me.

I have to write a university level essay displaying two different items and explain the similarities between the two.

Examples by the professor: a friend to a vacation spot, a person to a car, a toy to a pet

This isnt homework help ...I'm just looking for brainstorm ideas, could be made up or whatever

Brownie points: I really want to compare my highschool job at a pharmacy to something but I don't know whats the perfect comparison....any ideas?
posted by ptsampras14 to Education (11 answers total)
Your highschool job at a pharmacy to your university job as a student, would be the obvious one.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:25 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your pharmacy job to what you want to be when you grow up?
If it were me I would go to Wikipedia and hit "Random" twice and work with whatever it gives you.
posted by amethysts at 3:26 PM on November 16, 2010

you have a lot of question about your iphone. how about comparing your highschool job to the iphone? or a cellphone in general.
posted by raztaj at 3:27 PM on November 16, 2010

How about your pharmacy job to a game of tennis? Unless of course I'm misinterpreting the "ptsampras" in your username.
posted by griphus at 3:27 PM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

In an essay like this, the object is probably not to create the perfect comparison, per se, but to demonstrate how you can create comparisons between two very un-like things. So you best bet is to start with your highschool job, and then come up with something related to you that is the most completely unhighschool-jobly thing you can think of.

How about whatever it is that's in your pocket right now?
posted by Sparx at 3:29 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're thinking your job at a pharmacy, find the things that are important about that job. I don't know what you were in charge of, but let's say that attention to detail (not getting a wrong order), confidentiality, and being polite are really important in that role.

What else could require such things, especially something that isn't a job (for something entirely different). Maybe you have a best friend who is very diligent, keeps your secrets, and is a very nice person? That would be comparing two different things (a job and a person) that have similarities.
posted by xingcat at 3:29 PM on November 16, 2010

Start by thinking about your high school job at the pharmacy. Write a big list. What was it like? What did you do everyday? How did you get the job? Why did you choose to work there? What were your co-workers like? Did you have a uniform? Did you have strict procedures to follow, or were a lot of things left up to your own discretion? Did you ever have a surprising moment on the job - if so, what? Did you get asked to do things that were not part of the normal job description? Did the job make you change your priorities in some way? Did the people you met there have some impact on you? What did you learn from this job? etc.

Then look over your list. Pick three interesting things on the list. For each of them, think of something else that shares that feature. (For a boring example: you had to wear a uniform on this job, and you also had to wear a uniform when you were on the basketball team in grade 6.)

Then choose one of the three to write about.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:30 PM on November 16, 2010

I don't think your professor wants you to find a "perfect comparison." Your task is to creatively describe similarities in two different things. Since you are having trouble with this I recommend you pick two concrete objects, not a "job" which is a little more conceptual. It will then be easier for you to pick out similarities in (for example) color and weight.
posted by Wordwoman at 3:33 PM on November 16, 2010

I think you might want to look past the literal details of the assignment somewhat and think about this as an actual essay-- that is, a piece of semi-creative nonfiction expository writing that showcases your expressive talents and analytical ability. I doubt your professor really cares whether you have the perceptive faculties to see that a baseball and the moon are both round but one is pretty far away, or whatever.

Every essay needs a "shape," a plotline of sorts. That is, it needs to take the reader on a journey from beginning to end, to make a point in an interesting way through a series of logical steps. The more inane the apparent topic of the essay, the more important it is to have a logically coherent thesis, some larger point you're trying to prove by talking about the baseball and the moon.

Since this is a comparison essay, maimed cousin of the comparison/contrast, you've got basically one logical shape available to you: "You know, on the surface, [X] and [Y] couldn't seem more different. But when you think about it, they're really kinda similar in [way that proves this Deep Point]." In effect, you're being asked to pick two things that have obvious surface differences, but at least one clever, non-obvious, meaningful similarity.

For example, comparing your highschool pharmacy job to that one time you broke your leg trying to do a bike trick you weren't ready for: on the surface, the experiences couldn't have been more different (wild outdoors vs. sterile interior, sweaty T vs. clean uniform, cheering peers vs. disapproving supervisor, entire summer vs. one shining moment), but... well... when you think about it, actually, both experiences taught you about pain (cue brief, cheap LOL), and, more importantly, both experiences taught you that sometimes what you don't know is more important than what you do (and explain).

Mind you, the above is a miserably hackneyed example and you shouldn't use that one. But when you're thinking of things to compare, definitely keep in mind what wider points those comparisons might enable you to draw. You're being asked to write an essay, not a laundry list of comparisons.
posted by Bardolph at 4:45 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

A pharmacist gets narrow glimpses into the private lives of the people seeking his services. ["Refill of Viagra, sir?"]

So do people in other professions - like the police.

Maybe you could try something along those lines.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:54 PM on November 16, 2010

Winnie the Pooh and the galaxy of Andromeda
Spam and Finnegan's Wake
Usain Bolt and Willie Nelson's guitar
Metafilter and a plate of beans
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:00 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

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