For example, for one of my classes I'm supposed to write about Richard Serra's sculpture Sequence. It's a massive steel structure, currently at the Cantor Center at Stanford University, that dwarfs the courtyard it sits in. When you walk through it, it's like making your way through a labyrinth, because the walls are so tall you can't see anything but what's directly in front of you or behind you. I like that the sculpture engages the viewer directly, because you have to walk into it and experience the piece. But is it architecture, because it is so large? Or is it sculpture? What do I actually want to say about the piece? I don't know.
I mean, I can't very well tell my teacher, "I saw this sculpture, it was huge, and that was cool." Although it is huge and cool, the assignment is to write a descriptive piece about Sequence. But what makes good description versus bad description? I'm really not sure. The guidelines for the paper are pretty vague, which is both maddening - what does the professor want? - and practical, because when I grow up and graduate I doubt I'll be given assignments that will tell me what to say or how long it has to be or whatever.
But that doesn't make it any easier!