During the 2012 Interim, students came with drafts of novels-in-progress, personal essays, and even cover letters, ready to participate in a student writing community led by Dr. Michael Vander Weele ’73, professor of English.
The workshop-structured course “Conference, Writing, and Application Projects” was one of the many on-campus courses offered during Interim.
In this course, Vander Weele worked to “give back” to students what he has gained from his experience in various types of writing, including academic, business, and grant writing, as well as the creative forms of poetry and memoir. The professor, who accompanies students to English language and literature undergraduate conferences each year, said the course was also a way to provide support for students planning to present work at conferences this spring.
Jessica Sylvester ’15 of Tinley Park, Illinois, completed 40 pages of a novel she is currently writing, and she appreciated Vander Weele’s teaching approach.
“He made me feel as if we were all learning something about ourselves,” she said. “When he had us display our work on the wall, it made me more proud of it than stacking it on a desk.”
Students participating in the workshop brought a wide variety of writing to share and develop, including science fiction novels-in-progress, pulp fiction, and sports articles. They spent class working on their writing and offering feedback to each other.
“The Interim taught me to think about writing in ways I had never thought of before,” said William Miller ’13 of Chicago, Illinois. “I learned to budget time for writing every day. You only get better with practice. If you devote time to writing on a consistent basis, you will learn to enjoy creating your work.”