Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to school and writing again

By: Eileen Brumitt, Writing Center Coordinator
Eileen thinking about writing.

I have been teaching writing to college students for eight years now, but I rarely have an opportunity or a reason to write an academic paper myself. Since I am now back in graduate school, I have to write the kinds of papers I ask my students to write for the first time in a long time.
Last Friday night, I sat down to write my first graduate school paper. The prompt was to read two essays on the nature of slavery and to write an argument about which theorist is more compelling—so it is your basic compare/contrast on a higher level. I sat there with the documents and my laptop ready to go, and as I struggled to put into words these ideas I had about the topic, I realized something that I don’t always think about…
Writing is hard.
Even for English professors, writing academic papers is not something that is easily accomplished. When the task is to write an academic essay (which is much harder to write than this blog post), I have to create a thesis statement and then support that thesis with paragraphs that go in some sort of order that makes sense to someone other than me. I have to think about writing something that my graduate school professor will respect. I want to prove myself, to find out that I am worthy of being in this program and in this class. And all of this is riding on one little three page position paper!
The good news is that I made it through the evening and through the paper. I was able to, I hope, put together a solid argument and support it. This time it was hard, but I survived the task. Next time, it will probably be easier because I have gotten some confidence out of this experience. I can write a graduate level paper. I know this is true because I just did it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Eileen. Writing makes one a better writer, but the struggle is still there.
    I hadn't been in school for six years when I arrived at Cedar Crest in the fall of 2009. Everything was fine, I was really enjoying all of my classes, until that five page paper I had to write for my American Literature class. As my classmate put it, "Going back to school after being out of school for so long is like learning to swim."