The entire APA style concept is a bit mysterious to me. I earned my bachelors degree many years ago majoring in math/computer science. I am sure APA style was relevant then but, working primarily with numbers, I was never required to write a formal paper. Even though I have been a journalist for the past twenty years, writing for a newspaper is much less exacting than writing following the APA Style standards.
I know basic punctuation, sentence structure and noun/verb agreement. I’ve written hundreds of published articles for multiple publications. But I didn’t know there were such stringent (and numerous!) rules for the formatting and writing of professional papers. Glancing through the APA Publication Manual for the first time, I felt a little sick. I didn’t think I would ever be able to absorb it. But after I realizing that I didn’t need to digest the whole book at one sitting, that I could just refer to it as needed, it wasn’t nearly as imposing.
Surprisingly, after writing my first few assignments in formal fashion, I now find myself developing a small fondness for the order APA style can bring to my papers. It’s still a bit cumbersome to look up every margin, period, and quotation question, and I will never feel competent writing citations. But it is comforting to know that, even though the content may be subjective, no one can argue with the style!