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Shaping your school

Posted By Claire Ferguson On January 23, 2012 @ 12:00 am In Staff Columnists | 2 Comments

Why do you go to college? Why did you choose to come here? Did you hear about the general chemistry lectures and just have to be a part of them? Did you want to dance in Diwali? Did you want to hear the famous speakers or see the beautiful campus? My guess is at least one, if not all, of the above. But, despite all of Wash. U.’s great attributes, there are still things that need to be changed here.

One example of this is the overly generalized, but well-intentioned, Writing 1. We all came here to learn and advance ourselves for the future. When we are required to take a class that could have the potential to be very useful if tweaked, but in some ways is a flashback to high school English, the benefits seem limited.

In college, we pick and choose classes with relative freedom and can dabble in many things. It’s too bad, however, that this freedom can still hit roadblocks such as the untailored Writing 1, the unavailability of a class, or the complete absence of some classes. Now, obviously, in each class we take, there is always learning to be done. But sometimes, you have to wonder why the math-focused engineers can opt out of Writing 1 when the English major who got fives on both AP tests still has to take it. Writing is a way to express ourselves and relate to people. If engineers are allowed instead to focus only on numbers, how does that benefit them as people? Don’t they need to know how to write and communicate through words when they publish to a journal or present their ideas to future investors? Having passed the AP exams does not make English majors good writers. However, it does make them well-versed in the specific style of writing that those tests require. They should be allowed to take a more creative writing course that does not recycle the same literary analysis techniques or thought processes.

In ArtSci, why are there not different styles of Writing 1 such as creative writing, research writing, or novel/literature writing? Why do the business school students have to learn how to analyze and write a poem when instead they should be focusing on how to create business-appropriate PowerPoint presentations and practicing proper email etiquette? Perhaps the course should also offer an introduction to public speaking that shows the process of writing and then delivering a persuasive presentation. I am not arguing for the abolishment of Writing 1 as a class. I really enjoy writing, but the class could be more tailored to the students and therefore more beneficial to us in the future.

Everything about Wash. U. is tailored to give us an advantage. The beds are comfy so that we get more restful sleep in fewer hours so that we can study more. The food tastes good so that we stay healthy so that we can make the trek to class from the 40. Even the buildings are pretty and identical so that we do not accidentally walk onto Fontbonne’s campus and attend their classes.

No school is perfect, and we really have little to complain about here. Perhaps we just have raised expectations because we know Wash. U. can do a little better sometimes and that we, as students, should do our part to make sure a new program could and would be introduced successfully. We are invested in this school and need to make sure that we continue to offer suggestions that can continue this school’s success in the future.

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