Final EPortfolio

Hi Fellow MiW Students!

As much as it pains me to say, Writing 220 has come to an end. However, I still plan to keep my blog on my EPortfolio alive this summer, so please feel free to check it. My EPortfolio is designed to showcase my projects from Writing 220 as well as convey my love for traveling, learning about the world, and promoting positivity. My goal was to let my personality shine.

The link to my finalized EPortfolio is here:

I had an incredible experience in Writing 220. Thank you all for making it as pleasant as possible.




Advice to Future Gateway Students – Elise Vocke

Dear Future MiW Students,

Congrats! You are taking the first step, embarking on an incredible journey. I had a great feeling about the class even on the first day. However, if you did not have the same first impression, stick with it. I have learned a lot about myself and my classmates. In order for you to enjoy your first experience with the Sweetland minor, I compiled a list of suggestions below.

  1. Get close with your classmates.

This is a huge part of why I had such a lovely experience in Writing 220. The people made me excited to go to class everyday. If you see a Writing 220 classmate outside of the classroom, say hi. I have had many days bumping into MiW students outside of class and we both smiled, said hi, and caught up for a bit. It’s amazing how much a simple smile can brighten someone’s day. My classmates were so friendly and kind. By the end of the semester we all knew each other’s personalities really well. Also make a GroupMe for the class. This is extremely helpful, especially when there are questions about assignments or someone wants help editing a paper. People are very willing to edit papers outside of class for their peers. Take the time to ask someone to edit yours or for you to edit someone else’s.

2. Discover more about yourself.

I really learned a lot about myself through writing exercises in this course. Don’t be afraid to delve into your inner-self. It’s a really cool feeling. I remember, in one of my first Writing 220 assignments, learning about what inspired me to pursue my passion. I had no idea that one of my childhood toys had such a dramatic influence on me until I started writing about it. Really take the opportunity to learn more about yourself in this class. You won’t regret it.

3. Don’t be afraid of peer review.

Receiving feedback from 15 different students is extremely helpful when editing a paper. The way peer review is designed in Writing 220 is that you are able to ask questions to your peers and get them answered. Also you get to hear positives and suggestions. I am so happy I volunteered to have one of my projects looked at by the class. It gave me many new ideas for my project.

4. Write multiple drafts.

Do not let the fact that you spent a lot of time on a draft hold you back from starting over or drastically changing your path to the final product. I ended up completely re-doing one of my projects and am so happy I did. I knew something was missing before and I would not have been proud of my work turning it in had I not re-started the project. There is no shame in starting over. Do not hand in something you are not proud of. Take the time to make it a piece you feel pride in and are excited to share with others.


Lastly, I am happy to read through drafts and offer feedback for future Writing 220 students. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have questions, concerns, want advice, or want another pair of eyes to look over a paper.


Best of luck! The semester flies by. Try to enjoy every moment!




Writing Manifesto-Elise Vocke

Manifesto-By Elise Vocke:

Although it may seem frustrating at times, writing is fun. Enjoy it.

It’s a way for humans to express themselves. Let out your deepest fears.

Talk about what’s on your mind. There is no “correct” formula.

No right and wrong.

YOU make the rules. YOU take control.

Do not let anyone else tell you your writing isn’t good enough.

Don’t be opposed to feedback either though. Be open to it. Ponder it.

Sometimes it’s ok not to know the end result when you begin writing.

Just write.

Let it all come out.

It’s ok to completely abandon a draft and start fresh.

Do not let past drafts hold you back from creating something even more beautiful.

Believe in yourself.

You can do this.

Workshop Reflections

Personally, I love workshops and think they are a wonderful component of writing courses. Sometimes writers get trapped in their own head and need someone to tell them what can be clarified or what they can add to enhance the piece. In my gateway class, everyone was very helpful and contributed meaningfully to the conversation. I noticed that for the first two projects the timing worked well with ten minutes of saying what could be done to further enhance the piece and ten minutes for the writer to ask questions. However, I do not think it is necessary to spend ten minutes stating what is working well with the piece because the writer is looking to improve, not to get praise. More time could be spent giving suggestions rather than complementing. I think a little bit of time dedicated to stating what the writer does well is necessary for the writer to know what not to change but I feel that most of the time should be spent with the writer addressing questions and the classmates providing suggestions.

_ _ _

Everyone in the class was very polite and respectful when critiquing pieces. Having that respectful tone is key to maintaining a successful workshop session. In the past, I was reluctant to share my suggestions since I am not a professional who has received multiple degrees in a writing area. However, with this class I felt that my opinion was valued despite the fact that I was not a professional. I believe this is because the class was very close and comfortable with each other due to the small size and ice breaker events given in the beginning in the semester.

_ _ _

My work was looked at for the first time in a workshop all semester today. I found it extremely helpful. Instead of people coming off as rude, they were excited to provide me new ideas and excited to see where my project is going to go. The enthusiasm was contagious and also made me excited to see where my project will go after I incorporate the feedback I received. I have so many new ideas on how to expand my remediation after workshop, such as by including more people on the Instagram page. A suggestion I have for future MiW students is to not listen to every piece of feedback given. Sometimes students have different ideas on what works and what doesn’t. One of my classmates and I did not agree with a suggestion another classmate provided. I am very happy another classmate did not agree with it either because I feel as though my project would be stronger by focusing on another aspect instead of the one suggested. I love hearing everybody’s ideas but it is important to remember to evaluate feedback critically. Overall, the workshop benefitted me tremendously and I look forward to continuing with my project based on the feedback I received.

Journal Post 3/27: Animals

Oh how I miss my dogs. I miss feeling their soft (and probably dirty) fur and scratching their chins. I love watching them play. One of them is an old black lab with a white chin due to old age. The other is a wild, crazy seven year old who is a mutt. She has black fur with peanut butter colored paws and eyebrows. Diva is her name and I’m obsessed with her.

Journal Post: Observations on Disconnections

Two people are sitting next to each other in the library. Both have headphones in. One is writing in a red journal while the other is watching an online lecture. One has long brown hair while the other has blonde hair thrown in a pony tail wearing a black sweater. She has a coffee cup next to her, while the brown haired one has post-its all over her area. Neat vs. messy. As the brown haired girl observes the other, she thinks, “What is she learning about? Where is she from? What are her insecurities, her passions, her strengths, her backstories?” She will never know. Two people, so close, but so incredibly disconnected.

Guitar Strings and Clanging of the Keyboard

Guitar Strings and Clanging of the Keyboard

Beginning a paper may seem like a daunting task as I sit in the Union with my hot chocolate next to me, staring at a blank page on my laptop screen. Stress and anxiety begin to run from the top of my head to the tips of my feet, covering my whole body. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, plugging my headphones into my computer. Immediately, I turn on Simon & Garfunkel on Spotify, listening to “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and then “The Boxer” while I plan out my paper. I am not sure why I am able to focus to Simon & Garfunkel and why I connect with their songs more than others, but I assume it is because their music is light and calming. They strum the guitar softly and sing tenderly.

As I listen, my mind begins to focus on the task at hand. I read the essay prompt and spend a few minutes thinking about how I am going to approach the prompt. I jot down my ideas with a pen in a notebook about what I want to argue and then draft a thesis statement. This process takes about 20 minutes to finish. I break up my ideas into paragraphs that will support the thesis by writing on the paper “Paragraph 1: ___, Paragraph 2: ____, Paragraph 3: _____”.

Next, I gather quotations that support each paragraph and mini argument. Before I begin typing the paper, I typically visit the GSI or Professor that will be grading my paper to discuss my ideas, show him or her my outline, and ask if I am on the right track. I also ask any other questions I may have. I find it extremely helpful talking out loud to a professional about my ideas and receiving feedback so that I can start my paper more confidently.

With feedback and the revised outline, I type all of the quotations as evidence and support on a Google document as my first typing step. After, I type the paper as fast as my fingers can move, getting out all of my ideas and plan without stopping for grammar or changing sentences. I cut and paste the quotations I typed when needed for evidence to support.

Once the rough draft is finished, I spend a lot of time editing the piece, changing what I feel I need to, whether it be changing sentence structure or using different evidence to support my argument. Once the piece is edited I re-read it multiple times, making even more edits. Lastly, the morning the paper is due, I read through it again a few times to double check one last time that there are not errors in the paper and everything flows smoothly. I print it and hand it in, praying to the high heavens that I will do well on it.

Minor In Writing Introduction – Elise Vocke

About the Author: Elise Vocke is currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan pursuing a degree in International Studies with the Sweetland Minor in Writing through the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. She also is receiving a Certification in Sales and Marketing from the Ross School of Business. She loves to sing and explore new places in her free time, while also catching up on Glee episodes on Netflix even though the show was popular a few years ago and is now over. Her favorite image of herself is picturing her walking around in a big city with stylish sunglasses and cute boots.


Further, she enjoys watching movies and musicals when she does not have commitments or homework. Some of her favorite movies include Dead Poet’s Society, It’s a Wonderful Life, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Amadeus, Irrational Man, Magic in the Moonlight, and Vicky Christina Barcelona. In her writing, she focuses mainly on historical fiction due to her love of learning about the past. She finds history classes so intellectually stimulating.
Elise is in the Sweetland Minor in Writing program because she can express herself in writing. She wants to hone in on being able to communicate her feelings and emotions effectively to her target audiences. Writing well is vital for being successful in any field. Not only that, but creative writing in particular is very enjoyable for her, and she can write in her spare time her entire life. As people get older, they are limited in the amount of physical activity they can do, but they will still be able to write whatever they desire.