Words of Wisdom for the Future MIW Cohorts

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My advice to those future gateway course students is simple– don’t treat this like just another writing class.  There are no stereotypical “dreary” exercises or tedious papers that carry no significant meaning or interest to your life.  We’ve all had our share of writing or English classes throughout the years where you just “do the assignments” with the primary motivation being to achieve the best grade you can.  If you have chosen to be a part of the writing minor, you must have found joy in some aspect of writing, and look no further: you will get a chance to explore that joy in this class.  Yes it is an introductory course, but there is SO much that you can walk away with IF you have the right attitude.

This class allows the student a lot of creative freedom.  If you treat the assignments as an opportunity to explore a passion and create something that will last (rather than just more homework, and another course to get through) then you are going to walk out of the Gateway with sense of pride and accomplishment.  This class is truly what you make of it– the two biggest assignments have almost no explicit requirements and can be conducted through, quite literally, any medium of written expression you can think of.    Since the dominant portion of the class revolves around these re-purposing and remediation projects, don’t rush the process of selecting an old piece of writing to spend the semester working with until you are confident you can really push the boundaries with the topic.  From my own experiences and observing my classmates in my section, many people have created stand-alone pieces of work in this class they are not only proud of, but will stand the test of time and be worth keeping over the years.  It would be a shame not to take advantage of such a opporunity  by viewing the entire process as “work”.

4 thoughts to “Words of Wisdom for the Future MIW Cohorts”

  1. Conrad,

    Thanks a ton for your advice about the minor, I enjoyed reading about the passion that can be associated with this class, as well as the minor as a whole. While I wouldn’t characterize my process as rushing a decision, I definitely want to go back and spend time searching for the right piece of writing for my re-purposing and remediation assignments. This could be a great opportunity for me to both create some awesome creative pieces of work, as well as push the limits of what I feel comfortable doing as a writer.

  2. It really is good to know what to expect from this class from the viewpoint of another student. I think I came into this expecting another high school English lecture with timed essays and cheesy writing exercises that would ultimately make me a better writer. But the more I read the advice of other students, the more I get the sense that this is really a creative space, and it is what we make of it. That freedom is really comforting, so thank you for your words of wisdom!

  3. Thank you so much for the advice. Embracing this class is something I should have been doing from the start. So far I will admit that I have not been actively looking forward to the first paper, and that is mainly because almost all the other papers I have written in classes have been boring and not interesting in the slightest. I am completely forgetting that I get the freedom of choosing my own topics, and that I can write in what ever way I would like. I will make sure I have a different outlook as time moves on this semester.

  4. This advice is very reassuring to hear. I’ve always preferred classes without cookie-cutter requirements on assignments, and it’s great to hear that the minor offers significant creative freedom. I also appreciate the sentiment of your last paragraph in regards to not treating assignments as just “work”. I’ve found that my best writing comes from attempts to create something I’m proud of, and not necessarily the attempt to just achieve a good grade . Hopefully, this minor will give me a chance to take advantage of creative freedom and create more pieces of writing that I will want to keep for a long time.

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