Hey You! Listen! – My advice for incoming students

Did that get your attention?

Good. It’s the final day of this class, and I wanted to give you some advice for the minor.

So I’ll start off by saying I came in to the minor having somewhat of an idea what to expect. I knew, probably just like you, that I liked writing, and that this would be a chance to improve my skills. Then I got thrown a curve ball. We were asked to put down what we think as writing, and comment on them. When we did this, I realized I posted several links to blogs, books and other things that use words for writing. But when I examined others peoples posts, I saw things like calligraphy, artwork, and videos. This is something that I never considered. Writing could essentially be anything you want it to be. But in order to think that way, you have to open up your mind.

 

If you open up your mind, you'll be surprised at what you might find
If you open up your mind, you’ll be surprised at what you might find

Once you open up, you might find that you want to do a style of writing that’s different than what you have done throughout your collegiate career. Having an open mind will help you get a better idea of what to do so that you don’t have to worry about the fact that the class itself is not as structured and rigid as other.

But that’s not to say it wouldn’t hurt to have a few ideas in mind before you start the repurposing or remediation assignment. For example, although I didn’t know my what my source was going to be when I started the class, I did know that I wanted to write about sports and I was going to base most of if not all of my writing about that topic. It made making decisions early on a tad bit easier.

Finally, I will say keep track of the schedule (especially the blog posts), keep track of when things are coming up and make time for them. I will fully admit I underestimated the amount of time it would take to finish the assignments, as I would be up late into the night trying to finish assignments because I didn’t realize they were due, or that the process of actually doing them would take so much time. ┬áThen of course, when your stressed for time, your 4 year old laptop starts having processing issues. Both of these lead to a ton of stress, so try to give yourself enough time.

Panda destroying computers from pandawhale.com
What I wanted to do to my computer after it froze or was moving slowly while working on my remediation project.

However, I will fully admit that this was still one of the most enjoyable classes I have taken during my time here at Michigan. I was able to focus on what I liked to write about, and I developed skills that will make the writing process easier. I really hope you enjoy your time in the next class. It’s a great chance to become better at something you already like doing, and if you simply open your mind and give yourself ample time to work, you will be able to enjoy this class to its fullest.

Clarence Stone

A sports fanatic from Detroit Michigan. The moment I put a pencil to paper, I realized that writing was something that I cared about, and I can't wait to become better.

8 thoughts to “Hey You! Listen! – My advice for incoming students”

  1. Clarence, I totally agree with you in that my mind was blown open by the “What is Writing” gallery. Entities such as art, calligraphy, and music didn’t even cross my mind as examples of writing until I saw them in the gallery. I applied to the minor with aspirations of improving my technical writing skills but can already tell this minor offers so much more. I am excited to see how the gateway course pushes me as a writer, and perhaps more importantly, a thinker.
    With that said, the malleable structure of the minor poses an added level of stress for me. I am a biochemistry major, and let me tell you, biochem majors are very into (biomolecular) structure. It is for this reason I graciously accept your advice to plan projects around a theme of personal interest as a way of adding some structure back into the projects. Finally, your advice on time management may end up benefitting me in all classes (I hope). I will definitely monitor the weekly schedule through Google Drive and stay on top of blog posts, readings, etc. Thanks for the advice and best of luck to you this year as you progress through the writing minor.

    1. Hey Jeremy,

      I’m glad my advice to you could be helpful. I am working on the Minor Capstone now, and I can already say that I need to follow my own advice. My time management skills have improved since last year but because the capstone is demanding, I now need to keep managing all of my work.

      I hope you keep trying to stick to what interests you. The class really does let you explore what you want, but it also can be slightly difficult. I think the best way to describe is it will be “challenging”. Don’t let that scare you however. Challenging in regards to something you actually care about is taking that topic, focusing in on an aspect that has not been explored yet, and seeing how far you can take it. The problem with this is that sometimes you will try to go for too much and it might get out of control. However, if you focus hard enough and don’t let it the topic start to get away from you, things will be ok.

      Good luck with the rest of the gateway course and the minor!

  2. Thanks for the time crunch warning. I’m definitely guilty of extreme procrastination and have gotten into a few pickles in the past because of it.
    Also, the keeping an open mind thing. I feel like that’s really great advice especially as we start getting into the repurposing project.

  3. I really appreciate how you emphasize the need to be open-minded throughout the class; it’s something that I don’t hear that often. As a result of that, I was left in a complete disarray after discussing what constitutes writing in class, after talking about all the possible mediums I have never even considered. I want to try and branch out with my writing (not only in content, but in its form as well) and I believe that this class will help me achieve the goal. I also want to thank you for the time management warning; hopefully, I can avoid the consequences of procrastination.

  4. Clarence — thanks so much for the advice! I struggle with time management and procrastination, so it’s good to hear that this class is something that I should prioritize. I’m glad that, despite the unorthodox structure and workload, you had a good time in the class. I appreciate your emphasis on keeping an open mind. I feel like that’s pretty important in a class focused on writing.

  5. Thank you for the advice Clarence! I too sometimes find myself procrastinating, but I will definitely make sure to budget my time for this class accordingly. I will definitely keep an open mind, as I think this class will be most fulfilling if I explore as many writing opportunities as possible.

  6. Thanks for the advice! Or should I say, “thanks for the warning?” I have a tendency to procrastinate things but I love writing so much that I hope that I’ll power through. Also, I really like the advice to be open-minded. I’m really excited to start trying out different forms of writing and to also expand my own definition of writing.

Leave a Reply