Showing up to university in September, I had no idea what to expect. Well…I guess I was expecting some lectures, writing, multiple choice tests and a lot of hard work. All that turned out to be accurate, however, what surprised me most was despite how abysmal my high school experience was in terms of preparing me for the amount of reading required, it more than prepared me for the level of writing. In grade twelve sociology I had the delightful task of writing a fifteen-page literary review in full APA format as phase two of a four part ISU. Phase three entailed yet another fifteen-page document recounting and explaining the findings of a survey I created and phase four was a presentation in which I presented the complete findings of my primary and secondary research over the course of the term.
While this was probably the most challenging assignment of my high school career, it was also the most useful which made all the pain and suffering worth it. Not only am I a specialized expert in the field of compulsory vaccination and its implications for society but I would also say that I am more comfortable using APA than the average first year university student. In addition, I have the good fortune to not be afraid of the six to eight page papers that are being assigned, to my surprise and delight, less frequently than expected. So here I am, more ready to write than ever before, surprised by the lack, rather than the excess, of essays….Not that I’m worried or upset, I’d be willing to bet just about anything that what I’ve done so far is only the smallest tip of the massive iceberg we call “university papers”.
Other than the writing assigned in this class, my only paper has been for my PACS 201 class in which I was to find a personal story of a journey through conflict from somewhere in my family history. I explored a story of my grandmother’s family fleeing war-torn Hungary in early 1944 in relation to some of the concepts explored in class. This assignment was incredibly interesting and I learned quite a bit about personal family history and different theories of conflict, however, I did not find that it was a stretch in terms of the actual writing. After my fifteen page papers for Sociology and my eight page English ISU, this essay actually made me feel as if I had left many intricacies of the topic entirely unexplored as I was forced to remain within the three page limit.
The most significant writing skills I have developed this term so far are probably those around distinguishing between different tones, writing styles and levels of formality. Never has it been so natural for me to switch between an academic tone for one paper to a more personal one for an assignment like this blog post and while working on my Rhetorical Analysis paper I realized how much I actually have been noticing about these appeals in the past without even realizing what they were. I have also begun to find new ways to refine my editing process which I am sure will prove invaluable over the course of the next four and a half years of undergrad as well as the rest of my life after that.
When writing my psychology 101 midterm, I was also alerted to the importance of subtleties in wording within the questions. A certain example was when I got to a question in the middle of the test where two of the five options appeared quite possible. Being a multiple choice test, I could only choose one so naturally I re-read the question to see if I had missed a crucial fragment of information. I found that I had not but in fact there were two answers that could be possible because of ambiguities in the way the answers were worded.
Looking at the rest of term overall, I am looking forward to seeing how my courses unfold. I am excited to learn more about all the different branches I could pursue as a psych major in psych 101 and feed my crazy obsession with this unfathomable organ we call the human brain and the way it influences the way we as a species behave. In Music Theory we will keep delving into the governing rules of music as we try to explain the sounds I hear when I listen to my beloved choral music……ahhhhhh……the sweet sound of Rachmaninoff and Lauridsen…..I am even looking forward to the challenge of learning unheard of amounts of Haydn, Mozart and Monpou in piano studio and working to overcome my sometimes overpowering fear of performance.
So, similar to what I expected before I arrived in September, I am sure the remainder of the term will be filled with essays, multiple choice tests and lots of hard work along but I am also confident that I will grow in my academic abilities as I continue to settle in, explore my university career and see more than just the tip of the iceberg.