Imagine this. You enter your first day on the job at a small local bakery, excited and ready to go. You steadily take out your whisk and review the array of familiar recipes that you just laid out before you. As you carefully flip the page and glance over the coveted chocolate cake secret, the other bakers start to hastily bark orders at you. “Get started on the cupcakes,” one demands. “Make a batch of cookies,” states another. “Brownies are what I expect from you,” chimes in a third. Suddenly, baking – a skill in which you thought you knew all your life – was being expected in so many unique and unfamiliar forms that you start to feel overwhelmed. You question everything that you once knew. You even begin to ask yourself, “how am I going to survive?’
It is this angst-ridden scene that perfectly illustrates my first two months with university writing assignments. I feel as if each professor expects from me a different method of writing that best suits their particular taste. From sociology to English, I am expected to produce written works in such a variety of different forms that I often struggle with a place to begin. I find myself constantly jumping through literary hoops and altering my approach to writing with each assignment that I start. Simply put, university writing is no piece of cake!
As I reflect on all the assignments I have completed since that very first adrenaline-filled frosh week of university, the first few days of October clearly come to mind. It was during this strenuous time that I was tasked with completing not one, not two, but three diverse writing assignments – welcome to university, I guess!
The first of these assignments was a legal studies critical analysis in which I attempted to establish a formal structure and analytical tone. The pronoun “I” was not even considered as I typed a three-page essay on the functions of law. The second work, ironically, was a personal narrative in which the word “I” was utilized more times than I can count. This particular piece granted me more freedom with my approach, as I guided the reader through my life’s journey. The final assignment coincidently was not even in English at all, but in French. For this assignment, I was tasked with formulating a one-page response on my typical samedi (that is Saturday for the many of you who found it painstakingly difficult to remain awake during high school French).
Throughout this demanding week I felt stressed, aggravated and overwhelmed each time I shifted from one assignment to the other. I constantly had to readjust my thought process to ensure I was creating wholesome work that followed the guidelines of each particular project. It was like following several different recipes (all at once) and hoping that each treat came out delicious – or at least edible!
Although at the time I did not realize it (probably because I was up to my ears in anxiety) it was during this week that I was able to acquire multiple literary skills that will hopefully propel me into a bright future with writing. Each assignment enabled me to manipulate text into a different form by altering my choice of words, use of pronouns and development of voice. This daunting (and beyond stressful) week allowed me to comprehend the many different ways in which writing can be used, and further showed me how to succeed within each domain. I truly believe that all projects gave me a new perspective on writing, as I can now think critically, sparingly use pronouns, and develop a tone that matches the requirements of a specific paper.
Now, as I look over the endless assignments that engross my current syllabi, I cannot truly say that I am looking forward to a particular project. Instead, I find myself anxious to develop as a writer with each work that I compose. From English essays to French culture reports and everywhere in between I know that each word I scribe (or let’s be honest – type) will aid me on my journey to becoming a better writer. It is similar to baking in a sense – you try out hundreds of different recipes and make a couple spoiled batches in the process, but eventually you begin to feel at ease with the many forms of the craft – or at least I hope that this is the case!