It’s almost surreal to look back to myself four years ago and realize how many awesome things I had yet to experience. My time here at Michigan has been absolutely incredible, and I can’t help but feel nostalgic every time I do my “last” anything. Today, I had my last class as an undergraduate. Tomorrow I will take my last exam. This Thursday may even be my last Ricks Ladies Night as an undergraduate as well. All of these experiences, the people I’ve met, and the memories I have created, I will take with me forever. Although they may seem like just memories, the things that I have experienced have changed me and the way that I view the world in such substantial ways.
I feel as though the minor in writing has truly helped me grow as a writer, but more importantly, as a person. When I wrote my first DSP Essay, I had no clue what I was doing or what expectations would be held of me once I became an official member of the freshman class that year. Writing 125 seemed like a breeze, but I was clueless to how much more I needed to learn. A few hundred 10-page papers later (I wish I were joking), I think I’ve picked up a thing or two, but nothing can compare to the work that I put into the Capstone project and what that truly did for me as a writer and a person.
It was such a great experience to create the Capstone project, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could take on a major project like that and put everything I had into it. Sure, I’ve already gotten into law school and my grades and these projects don’t hold a lot of weight for my future at the moment, but I didn’t care. I treated that project like it was something that I was doing for myself, not for a writing minor requirement. I found that by doing this, I made the entire process so much more enjoyable. It didn’t feel like a chore, but rather something I was choosing to do for myself. I was able to set aside time to just be in my own thoughts for hours on end, and that was actually really cool.
This minor in writing program I have found is absolutely incredible. The opportunities it has presented have been so much more than I expected. Going in, I figured it would be a lot of writing assignments and prompts covering a broad range of writing forms. But it was really quite the contrary. There was so much room for customization in this minor, which I enjoyed. Even in the gateway, where they definitely held our hand a bit more, we still were able to choose the topics that we wanted to write about. I thought this was a great way to keep students interested and writing about what they care about—which ultimately makes us better writers and plays up our strengths!
I found the difference between the gateway course and the capstone course to be immense. In the gateway course, we were given much more instruction on what was expected of us, how long things needed to be, and what dates we needed to have XX number of pages done. In the capstone course; however, we were really left to ourselves and were expected to be keeping up with our own projects over the course of the semester. In addition, we weren’t told how to complete our projects, but instead that they simply needed to be inventive and well presented.
If there were two things that I would change about the minor (and believe me, there really wasn’t much to complain about), I would have to say the lack of check points and the point system itself. I truly believe it would have helped if we had more check points throughout the semester where we were given hard deadlines for when we needed to have a certain number of pages or content completed. This would have made the editing process a lot easier, and would have helped a lot of us seniors at the end of the semester (that was really rough). At the same time, though, I can completely see why it’s designed this way, and we’re all adults, so we should know not to procrastinate on a project of this size. Yet….I’m pretty certain 90% of our class did anyways (oops sorry Ray!) Finally, THE POINTS SYSTEM. Sorry to rant in a post that I wanted to come across as overwhelmingly positive, but I HATE THIS. I was so disappointed that we were not awarded points on the quality of our projects. Rather, this point system brought out the type-A in all of us (even me), and distracted our efforts from the project for the majority of the semester. Even worse, it was hard to get motivated to do an incredible job on the project if it really wasn’t reflected in our grade either way. Just some food for thought for the next incoming writing class! J
So, back to the positive stuff. What can I say…my time here at Michigan and in the minor in writing program has been so much more than I expected. When I walk across the stage next Saturday, I’m glad to say that I’ll truly feel like I earned that degree. From the thousands of pages of written work I have completed in my four years here, and the hours upon hours of studying for exams and making sure projects were just the way I wanted them to be, I gave this place my all, and I’m proud of that.
Cheers to Ray, the best teacher I have EVER had at this University, and a class that was filled with awesome people who I know will do great things in the future. For today goodbye, tomorrow good luck, and FOREVER GO BLUE!!