Letter to Future Gateway Students

When I first started this course, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I loved writing and (I thought and had been told) that I was pretty okay at it. I thought it would be a cool minor because all employers want to know that you can write, especially in today’s day and age, and because how cool is it to be minoring in something that you actually love to do.

When you come in to this course, you’re going to be asked to write about a topic. This was by FAR the part that I struggled at the most, because at first I tried to be way too interesting. My all-time favorite writing teacher (besides Shelley, of course) once told me that readers love two things: your struggle or something that they don’t understand (something that you’re super, super passionate about). When I chose my first topic, I forgot about this advice. I wanted to make my topic Greek Life and how I feel extremely torn about it. Honestly, I don’t really care all that much about Greek Life. I’m a junior and it’s not really a big part of my life anymore. So I realized that I had chosen a topic that wasn’t really a big struggle for me and I wasn’t super, super passionate about.

When I remembered Sharon’s (the writing teacher’s) advice, everything clicked. Duh. Write about something that I struggle with and that makes me unique–something I’m super, super passionate about. I decided to write about being the oldest of four girls and, let me tell you, as disgustingly cheesy as it sounds, the words just poured out. I had SO much to say. So, basically, all I’m trying to say is that my advice is to completely FORGET about your audience and to instead write something that you care about an insane amount. If you care, your readers will care. It’s as simple as that.

Even if you pick the perfect topic and the world seems to be dumping happy rainbows and sunshine into your lap, you will still struggle with the remediation project. Everyone does. And you should–the entire point of it is that you’re supposed to go outside your classic comfort zone and try something new and crazy. If you’re not struggling and a little bit scared for what your final whatever is going to look like, you’re probably not doing it right.

You should have so SO many questions regarding your remediation projects to ask your blog group and your teacher and your friends and your parents. Does this look okay? Does this sound okay? It should be unchartered territory for you, and, I don’t know about you, but for me when it comes to unchartered territory, I need a lot of gentle hands on my back giving me advice and urging me on. So for the remediation project, get scared. Go outside your comfort zone, let yourself feel uncomfortable, and be willing to hear other people’s advice–whether it be good or bad. Being vulnerable and feeling like you’re not doing something that you are amazing at is absolutely terrifying, but can benefit you as a writer and a person so much in the long run. If I only ever did things that I thought I was great at, I would be majoring in jumping rope with a minor in Netflix binge-watching. But here I am, way, way, way outside my comfort zone with a major in art and a minor in writing. Do I know what I’m doing with my life? Hell no. But I know that I’m doing something where I have to push myself every day to go outside my happy little comfort zone in order to improve and be the best I can be.

I’m not positive if I answered all the questions we were supposed to get at. My biggest takeaways from the course? Well, I guess to just go for it and to trust my instincts. What heart/spirit/mind advice do I have? Wow this seems really funny that I am being trusted to give any of you advice when I haven’t even finished my own project, but I would say to just take it slowly and to let other people help you. Some of the best major revisions that I made came from people in my blog group and from Shelley. Try to not let your ego get in the way of anything–I doubt that any of you have ever been in a class with a bunch of people who are actually good at writing. I know for a fact that I take peer advice .0001% of the time. This is the one class ever that you really truly should take peer’s advice. They’re good. You’re good. Get great.

Good luck with everything! You’ll be amazing.

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