I am not quite sure what happened, but apparently I either dreamed about writing this advice post and it never actually happened or I somehow forgot to click post after constructing it… who knows? Either way, I still have advice to give! Better late than never, right? Here it goes:
- Keep a calendar: As exemplified from my error of late blog-posting, it is so important to keep a calendar of all due dates! Not only that, but make sure to take the advice of making a project plan seriously. Project II and III will sneak up on you, especially since they are made almost entirely on your own time. You will need to be on top of it so as to avoid as much stress as possible. I suggest lots of planning and actual time-tracking. There is a lot going on, and it is helpful to stay disciplined in this respect.
- Have fun with it: … but don’t be too disciplined. Because you really should have fun with this class. It is more about taking chances and exploring media and methods you may not have tried before. Experiment. Have fun. Take chances you would never dream of taking in any other U of M class. This gateway course is special for a lot of reasons, but I think the main one is that the environment is so encouraging. You have a tight-knit group of writers ready to offer constructive criticism and support at all times. Take advantage of it. Don’t let the freedom intimidate you; see it as an opportunity to play.
- Be respectful: In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” You are going to get close to your classmates, so be kind from the start and all the way through. Sharing writing can be extremely personal, so be respectful and make sure you say whatever you have to say with the best of intentions.
- Meet outside of class: whether is be with your professor or with other students in the class, take the time to meet outside of scheduled class time. The writing minor is a community, truly. Meet with others to chat about writing, life, and otherwise. It is all relevant to what we do. We are writers, and writing is communication. So communicate! Chat! Make this more than just another course and meet outside of class.
Best of luck writer! You got this.