Here at the Writing Center, we consultants have the pleasure of working with writers on many academic assignments throughout the year. We are always ready to welcome any kind of academic paper and collaborate with writers, whether that is because a professor has required a consultation, a student feels in need of guidance, or a client wants a listening ear for their ideas. Perhaps you have brought a research paper or two to the Writing Center before.
We’ve all been there. The essay has been on the syllabus since day one. Ten days before it’s due, the professor starts sneaking in comments every few classes about the turn-in date. We tell ourselves, “Oh, there’s still time.” Why is it so hard to get started?
If you have ever been in a literature or writing class at Wheaton, you may have heard the term “creative nonfiction” thrown around by one of your professors or classmates. Perhaps you have encountered the phrase in Kodon or The Pub and are interested in knowing more about what this genre is. Or you are unfamiliar with the term, you may even find it paradoxical. You are not alone in this either.
First Year Seminar (CORE 101), First Year Writing, and AIS professors often include Writing Center appointments as a portion of their course. You might meet this with a feeling of dread or stress; life is hectic and having yet another required meeting or appointment can feel like an added weight. You may feel like you don’t “need” to go to the Writing Center or the idea of sharing your work with an unfamiliar face may feel daunting. So, how do you make the best of it?
Think of your favorite song—what do you like most about it? The lyrics? The melody? The baseline hidden beneath the final mix?
A song is much like a poem written to the movement of a melody—imagery, harmony, and simile merge to relate creator to consumer in a way that transcends the use of words alone.
Simply put, a song is a combination of thoughtfully constructed parts that, once put together, amplify one another.
Let us begin with the cornerstone.
If we are being completely honest, as students, we tend to write papers for classes with no intention of ever opening the document after we hit the “Submit Assignment” button. We set it aside in our pile of completed tasks and just move on to the next one. For me, there’s the added difficulty that nearly every time I look back on my old writing, I can’t help but think to myself, “I can’t believe I wrote that!”
The value placed on fiction, and in particular fantasy, can vary in different circles within society: oftentimes Christians–particularly in an academic setting–can see fiction as inconsequential and even, at its worst, escapist. There is sometimes a desire to place fiction and fantasy in a category of frivolousness when it is not being read for class, only to be indulged in when one has the time and needs a break from the heavier, more “important” reading. As college students, we can become so besieged by the constant challenge to perform well, to write the phenomenal paper, to craft the perfect argument, that we forget that we can in fact read and write for our own enjoyment. As I have read through Alan Jacob’s book Reading for Pleasure in an Age of Distraction, I have come to believe that we can read and write for the enjoyment of it, especially when it comes to fiction, and it is intrinsically good for us to do so.
Do you want to grow in self-awareness? Do you want help breaking self-destructive thought patterns? Do you want help facing overwhelming emotions? If you answered “yes” to any of these, expressive writing is a simple yet powerful way for you to move in that direction. As a college student, you may be fully aware of how writing is a way of thinking and reasoning. However, writing can be more than a way of thinking about academics: it can be a way of thinking about life. This article will give you some tips on how to use writing as a tool for self-care.
Many students can feel hesitant entering the Writing Center, but one graduate client, Caitlin McNamara, has just the advice for them.
Caitlin is a graduate student in the M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy program, and she has frequented the Writing Center regularly for two years. We interviewed her to see why she keeps coming back–and why she recommends that others do so too.
As the school year comes to a close, it can sometimes be difficult to envision writing opportunities beyond the classroom. We interviewed a few Wheaton alumni—Carolyn Waldee ’18, Aaron Brown ’13, and Jerome Blanco ’12—to learn where writing has carried them after graduating from Wheaton.