Words of Advice to Future Minor in Writing Students

Hey there. My name’s Phill and am just completing my Winter 2014 Writing 220 course with the one and only T Hetzel, the greatest teacher ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Seriously, I love her. I am not saying you have to take her, as I am sure there are other fantastic Writing 220 teachers here at U of M, but if you do have T as your instructor…cherish every moment. She’s a hoot. Anyway, what other advice do I have for you about the Minor in Writing? First off, take advantage of the unbelievable resources we have here. Spending time in the minor you will encounter experts on every sort of writing, peers eagerly available to critique your work, and plenty of people with influence in the writing world. We have our own publishing office at U of M. Take note of that. If you have an idea for your writing, any idea at all, GO FOR IT. Use these resources we have at our disposal, many of which are free, the best that you can. More specifically about Writing 220, I’d say my most important piece of advice would be to learn about yourself. There are lots of opportunities to explore yourself ¬†as a writer in this class. I have written three or four drafts on the first project of the class, “Why I Write”. Don’t treat this like just an assignment. Learn about yourself! I wrote my final draft the other day and just let it flow out of my brain as I wrote. It was peaceful. The writing repurposing and remediation projects are something to really envelope yourself in. The whole idea seemed weird at first but now, looking back on what I have done with one, silly poem, it is extremely cool to see the creative process as it progresses.


As class ended today, I realized one more piece of advice to share with y’all. You are going to make some homies in this class. Like, real homies. These are students with goals similar to yours, imaginations as big as yours, and hearts open to making friends (at least in my case on that last one). I have made a ton of friends in my little Writing 220 class. This was easily my favorite class I have taken at Michigan so far. Take advantage of the great people that are probably in your class.

I hope this advice is a little helpful to you as you enter what is the single greatest academic minor that has ever existed in the history of the University of Michigan. Go do big things and write until your hand falls off.




Phill Di Censo

3 thoughts to “Words of Advice to Future Minor in Writing Students”

  1. I couldn’t agree more about making real homies. These are kids that follow you into other classes. You think they are just another classmate but by the end of senior year you realize you know more about them than most acquaintances. You create a special bond with your writing friends which makes completing the minor so much more enjoyable. So my advice to you is don’t blow off the student next to you who wants to get your phone number or meet up to have a blogging party #Andrea #Matt – join them in writing adventures! It’s great having friends along fro the ride!

  2. Phil–

    Thank you for your advice! I did not know what specifically Sweetland had to offer and you added additional information I did not know about Sweetland. (And of course, a professor to look forward to having). I cannot wait to continue to learn about myself as a writer. I am starting to write my first draft of “Why I Write” and I hope this continues to improve my style of writing. I am happy that this writing assignment has allowed you to understand yourself as a writer more!

    I also realized that the peers in my class will definitely be my “homies” for the next two years because we all started this program together as Fall Cohort 2014!

    Thank you for your advice!

  3. Phil – thank you for this advice. Your enthusiasm is great to hear. The more posts like yours I read, the more I realize that the writing minor is not just an academic opportunity; it represents a social community as well. As I start my “Why I Write” piece, I will take your advice to heart and make sure I’m really exploring the fundamental question as it pertains to my identity as a writer. It’s great to hear you’ve made lots of friends through this class; I don’t have many friends that love writing as much as I do, but hopefully this will change quickly as a result of me being in this class.

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