Letter to Future Gateway Students

Dear Future Gateway Students,

Congratulations! You’ve made (or will make) a great choice.

I’m not sure that I can pinpoint one specific takeaway that I have from this course because there have been so many. For me, the one word that comes to mind is growth. I feel like I’ve grown as a writer, student, thinker, and collaborator. Specifically, my creative process has really grown and developed during this course. I used to dread editing, workshopping, etc., but I really fed off the energy of my peers in the Gateway Course. I would suggest coming into this class (and this entire program) with no expectations. The course is really well structured so that the creative/writing process takes over, and resisting that would have been a mistake.

The most challenging part of this course for me was learning to express myself in different forms. I had grown comfortable with writing essays, but through the remediation and ePortfolio, I had to learn to articulate myself in other ways. There was a lot of trial and error, frustration, and working through obstacles, but I worked through it so that I am proud of my work in the end.

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From the very first day of class, there was an open and welcoming environment created in the classroom. Most teachers say that everyone should feel free to share their thoughts, but in this class, that sentiment actually turned to reality. It’s hard to capture that sort of environment at a huge university like Michigan, and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a classroom that was totally open, but the Gateway Course made it happen.

I feel like I spent 3X as much time on this class than I did on any of my other classes this semester. That was partly because it was fun and I was passionate about the work, but it was also because it is a demanding course that requires lots of time and energy. If you’re an incoming Minor in Writing student, I would advise staying organized from the very beginning. Plan out your process for different projects and start early. If not, they can have a tendency to pile up on each other and make you feel overwhelmed. The best writing is done with a clear mind and a free imagination, which stress can compromise. So I would suggest trying to space out the work to give yourself the freedom and time to write at your best.

If I were to start all over again, I would have spent more time looking at my peers’ work. I became close with my blog group which consisted of four students, but I was not as familiar with the rest of the class’s work as I wanted to be. Whenever I did come across another student’s work, I always learned something from it. Because learning from your peers is such a huge advantage in this course, I would have tried more actively to seek out their work.

This course is an adventure. As a Gateway student, you learn a lot of new concepts, and work on a lot of projects that you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with. While this can be stressful or daunting, I would just say to embrace the spirit of this course because it will absolutely be worth it. This has been the most rewarding class that I’ve ever taken at Michigan, and I feel like my thinking has been pushed by my peers in this class more than any other class I’ve taken here. If you focus on learning from others, delving into your most creative self, and participating in the environment of the classroom, you will do meaningful work and create something that you will be extremely proud of in the end.

Sincerely,

Jon

 

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