To all of the future MIW students out there: welcome!
You are about to embark on one of the most rewarding adventures of your life. I know that’s a pretty vast statement, but believe me, it’s true. Some of you may be nervous, some excited, some curious, some determined; and that is perfectly normal.
I’ve compiled a list of some things to keep in mind as you begin this course. Which, by the way is actually more of a book club, but about writing. You will learn by thinking, by asking questions, by doing. It’s definitely not your average class setting at Michigan, and I think that’s the reason it has become one of my favorite classes I’ve taken in my two years here.
So, here I give you—in no particular order with no numbers because they’re all important—my “Success Guide” (because who just wants a survival guide?) for the Minor in Writing Gateway Course. Enjoy!
Keep an open mind.
In this course you may be asked to write and think in ways in which you haven’t done before. Be open to writing in new styles, about new topics, and maybe even with a different production process. Change can be good, I promise!
Utilize your resources.
In addition to asking your professor for his or her opinion on your work, ask your peers as well. I know the words “peer review” or “in-class workshop” can easily make you cringe, but in the gateway course these experiences are some of the most valuable. Your fellow minors are probably some of the best writers you know…take advantage of this opportunity.
If there’s something on your mind, say it! Don’t be afraid to question a discussion topic or ask someone about something they said or wrote. You’ll be amazed at how much you can gain just by asking the simple question, “why?”.
Don’t worry about making mistakes.
If being a college student has trained our brains to do anything, it is to worry about getting things correct and receiving a “good” grade. News flash: you will make mistakes in your writing, and this is a great thing. The whole point of first and second drafts is to recognize what you need to change, and the process of editing your work helps you learn about yourself as a writer.
Coming from someone who used to try to plan out every single aspect of her essay ahead of time, I cannot stress enough how important it is to just sit down and write. You will do a lot of writing in this course, and some of your best work will come when you least expect it. Your scribbled down notes can turn into an amazing project; it’s all just a matter of getting started.