Tips for Success

A Few Tips for Succeeding in this Class

Believe that you are a writer. When we truly believe in something, we often create selffulfilling prophecies. In other words, if you believe that you are a writer or have the potential to become one, you will evolve into one. If you believe you are not a writer and will never be one, then you have already decided your fate.

Come to class prepared. It’s nearly impossible to participate if you haven’t done your
homework, and since most of your grade relies on your ability to complete work on time and your participation, you will lose points. Plus, much of what you learn in this class is scaffolded. That means if you miss one thing, you may have a hard time catching up.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Though saying “think outside the box” is not thinking outside the box at all, I do encourage you to explore, question, challenge, and be creative. Allow your passions to lead you.You can argue with the experts. You can disagree with me. You can adopt unorthodox strategies. I’m not looking for a “right answer” or for you to show me that you can memorize and regurgitate facts. I believe that I can learn from my students, and I hope that you will give me the opportunity to do so.

Forget about me when you write. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Write for a real audience, and you will be more likely to make the grade. Would a real audience be able to follow your ideas? Would they be interested in what you have to say? When students write for professors, they often get lost in vague generalizations and empty jargon.

Ask for help when you need it. Learning is a social activity. We cannot learn in a vacuum. If you are struggling, ask for help. Not only will it relieve frustration, but it will show me that you want to succeed.

Don’t procrastinate. I am guilty of this myself, but I can tell you that there is no easier way to cause stress and anxiety for yourself than to procrastinate. Breaks are good, but avoiding work altogether is not.

Failure is only failure when you learn nothing from it. From time to time, we all mess up. It’s ok! Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying new approaches, styles, genres, strategies, etc., and certainly don’t let failed attempts convince you that you’re “just a bad writer.” The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and attempt to go forward from there. Einstein certainly didn’t figure out his Theory of Relativity in one shot.


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