Being accepted into the Minor in Writing program was probably one of the highlights of my first semester this year. I was so excited because I had always loved to write, but since I am a math major, writing had become uncomfortably infrequent. And although I loved my major, it was taking away another one of my loves.
That being said, from the very first day, the gateway class truly defied my already very high pre-expectations. I can say very confidently that it has changed my identity as a writer and has been one of the best opportunities that I have received from UM thus far.
So don’t waste it.
The gateway class is one of those classes that you can easily get behind on assignments or projects (since you as a student decide upon a schedule for each of your projects). And when that happens, it would be very easy to absolutely hate the class. Because you will have to stay up all night right before a deadline, and you will not be able to actually enjoy the process that is creating a project without boundaries that is 100% you.
Don’t be afraid to explore and to stretch yourself.
No matter how much writing experience you have had prior to this class, and no matter how “good” of a writer you consider yourself to be, don’t let that make you stick to what has always worked for you in the past. Because this class is not about the final grade. It is about learning about yourself and your identity as a writer. And if you let it, it can teach you about yourself as a whole.
Stay true to yourself.
Especially for the “Why I Write” project, do not BS it. It will completely detract from your experience in the class, and (from personal experience) will make it difficult later on when you decide that you do in fact want to delve into yourself, and you will in fact need to completely scrap your current, less-than-honest essay.
This class and this experience can form an incredible community for you at UM. Participate endlessly in class discussions, volunteer for a workshop day, and get to know your classmates on a level deeper than “ah! so much homework! school sucks!” What makes this experience so special is that everyone in your gateway class wants to be sitting in your classroom just as much as you do. That alone can foster an incredible learning experience that would be difficult to beat in any other UM class.
Good luck! I hope you enjoy this class as much as I have this past semester!