Advice for Future Minor in Writing Students

First of all, Congratulations on being accepted into the minor program. I’m sure this is a very exciting time for you all as you begin your journey through the various classes in the minor. After just finishing up the Gateway course myself, I am confident that you will have an awesome experience in the course. Like most of you, the majority of writing that I had done up until the Gateway course was your standard, 5-7 page academic essay. The great thing about the Gateway course is that you don’t have to do that anymore. Each project, from the “Why I Write” to Remediation, is so open ended that you can really do whatever you want. Always thought about writing a short story? You can do that. Have you ever wanted to direct your own movie? You can do that too. The Gateway course was the first chance I ever had to push the boundaries of what I thought I was able to accomplish as a writer, and I have grown in leaps and bounds because of it.

Now that I am done ranting about how cool the Gateway course has been, I just want to mention a few things that I have learned while taking the course that I think will be able to help you guys.

  • Get to know everyone in your class. For the first time in your academic life, you are surrounded by peers who actually want to write. No longer do you have to put up with the kids who are taking writing because they have to. The more people you get to know in your class, the more people you can ask for advice.
  • When you think of which original source you want to use for your repurposing and remediation projects, don’t use it. The best part of the Gateway course is being able to explore new areas of yourself as a writer, so you don’t want to just use the first idea that comes to mind. Think about which piece of writing will lead to the most diverse projects.
  • Finally, take advantage of every opportunity your instructor offers. While my peers gave me great advice on things such as style and voice, the conferences with my instructor were the best for brainstorming and reworking my ideas to fit the project guidelines. Your instructor is there to help you develop as a writer as best you can, make sure you don’t squander that opportunity.

Quinn Skalka

Junior studying EEB and writing. Originally from Battle Creek, the cereal capital of the world. Chicago sports fan. Enjoy longboarding, ultimate frisbee, and reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy series.

One thought to “Advice for Future Minor in Writing Students”

  1. Hi Quinn,

    Thanks for sharing your lessons learned from your time in the Gateway course. I’m really excited to get started, but the repurposing project is making me a little nervous. Your advice to not use the first thing that comes to mind has completely shifted my thinking on the project. I want to do something completely unique and outside of the box, so using an academic paper or a blog post (two of the things that come to mind first) probably aren’t the best pieces to work with.

    On a separate note, I love your Chicago Blackhawks photo. I’m from Chicago, so I’m a big fan! Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

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