It’s Been a Minute

Hi Capstone peeps! My name is Meghan Brown and I’m very excited for this class and to get to know you all as we finish this wonderful minor. It has definitely been a minute since I wrote my last blog post during the gateway course in Fall 2014, but I will give it my best shot.

Since then, I have been a part of several different writing communities–most being academic. From a ULWR primate social behavior course to a Sweetland course in new media writing, I have definitely had a wide variety of writing opportunities. However, the two most notable communities that I struggled with were more on the fringe of academia: research and medical school applications.

As a research assistant in the Department of Psychology, I had to produce a formal research paper and poster presentation for a symposium. While many students dislike the lack of flexibility that comes with academic writing, I have always found the structure and consistency to be somewhat reassuring. I was more than familiar with the MLA format and felt comfortable with the stereotypical essay format. However, I quickly learned that academic research papers are completely different from a proper English essay. I had a whole new world of conventions, formatting and organization to get used to. As a creature of habit, I found the APA format confusing and even quite annoying at times. But with the help of my research mentor, I was eventually able to produce a paper and poster that I was very proud of.

On a completely different note, this past summer I applied to several medical schools–which meant essays, essays and more essays.


This was definitely one of the most stressful and eye-opening experiences of my writing career. I like to consider myself a pretty modest person, so having to write numerous essays bragging about my skills, experiences and personality was a huge challenge for me. I struggled with finding a middle ground that portrayed me as confident, while still keeping that hint of humility. To be quite honest, I find the whole application process to be pretty stupid. Similarly to how Erin felt like she was writing to simply please her professors, I felt like I was trying to create an image of myself that admissions directors would approve of. Certain essay topics were uninteresting to me and I had a difficult time selling myself when I wasn’t passionate about the prompt. Regardless, I made it through and am blessed to have been accepted to multiple schools. I am excited to see where my future in medicine brings me and what new writing communities I might be introduced to while on this path.





2 thoughts to “It’s Been a Minute”

  1. Hey Meghan,

    Although I haven’t applied to Medical School (or done anything that comes close to being as impressive as that), I found the college application process to be just as awkward; it’s very strange having to boast about yourself to people you don’t even know in hopes that they also think you are as amazing as you have been claiming to be. Similarly, I also had to write a research paper for a research program I did through the School of Kinesiology. Ultimately my paper was published, but unlike you I found the rigid format to be repetitive and boring at times.

    Good luck with medical school!

  2. I am extremely happy that I did not have to write a single essay for medical school applications…that sounds awful. I’m interested in the logic behind application essays, where one has to simultaneously brag about themselves while not appearing arrogant. How did you navigate this problem? Do you think that all writing is a practice of “selling yourself” to the reader?

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