Sometimes You Need More Than One Sentence for a Thesis

With midterms looming and the end of the quarter in sight I thought I would share some advice and encouragement with the lovely and possibly avid readers of UCWbLing.

Stay Positive!  I know it sounds really corny and lame, but I am serious.  Life can be rough and complex and as a student writing is a huge part of life.  Don’t let it get you down… try to enjoy it!

Recently I have had a number of fellow students come in to see me at the writing center and they seem extremely unsure about their papers, particularly their introductions and theses.  At this point in the quarter students have most likely written something for their professors and received feedback on it.  Perhaps some of that feedback was negative or included questions or corrections. Chances are students did not get a lot of positive feedback, because oftentimes we students only see a check mark or a plus sign that indicates we did something right.  This, I feel, leaves a number of students worried about future assignments and trying to strictly adhere to whatever the assignment prompt says.

Living in a world of being rejected and corrected for my writing, whether in school or in the world of lit mags, I know this kind of feedback and pattern of gluing ourselves to assignment sheets can become a problem.  It seems that we lose the fundamental reason for writing – a means of expressing ourselves.  Our writing then is in danger of becoming too formulaic and only applicable on one level.  I think it is important for students, professors and tutors to be aware that giving some positive feedback can really boost a writer’s confidence, which might be more beneficial in the long run than having a student constantly worry that their thesis is not in one concise sentence.

This post has been a little jumbled, I realize that, but sometimes that’s the way I write and that’s fine with me.  Positive feedback is really important because I truly think that the reason a lot of people view themselves as bad writers is because they were not told enough that they can write and there are a lot of things they can do well.  I know the UCWbL has a fun field to complete when you register for WCOnline that asks you to identify your strengths as a writer and I think that is a really helpful exercise for all writers.

Basically I say this: look for ways to improve your writing, because there really is always room for change and improvement, but don’t forget to find things you do well.  Trade your paper with a friend or a roommate and give one another a compliment.  Stay positive!