- I asked students to read "Ranking the Writing Programs Best for You" to get them thinking right away about what goes into choosing a graduate school. I'm curious as to which of these criteria may be new to them and which they were already considering. I'm also wondering how many already are set on NOT going to graduate school altogether, as this seems surprisingly common at the beginning of the semester. It might be school fatigue ("Let me get through this first before I even think about grad school!"). I felt the same way and took two years off in between my BA and MA.
- How will students respond to this excerpt from Steve Salerno's "Welcome to the Real World":
A simple truth: College writing courses, as they are presently designed and taught, have nothing to do with the real world. The students who emerge from them think writing is all about self-expression and unfettered creativity and "pushing the envelope of the genre." Now, if you are intent on becoming the next great experimental novelist, and you don't want people corrupting your artistic vision with their crass commercialism, and you don't care what anyone has to say about writing … that's fine. On the other hand, if you don't care what anyone has to say, you wouldn't be reading this magazine. Would you? And you wouldn't necessarily be expecting to profit from writing.
Tonight, I'm also going to ask students to look for the demons in their writing... what stops them from producing writing? Everything prevents me lately. My demons:
- Fear of not having time to complete something
- Fear that I shouldn't be working on this "thing" that's on my mind... that I should be finishing my dissertation (or the WPA study) instead
- I'm not good enough-- my background is purely academic writing with little creative experience