WRIT 101: First-Year Writing Seminar

Name: Stefani Lopez
Hometown: Puyallup, Wash.
Major: Undeclared, leaning Psychology and Hispanic Studies
Professor: Jason Skipper, assistant professor of English

Writing 101

Stefani’s advice to first-year students: “Avoid procrastination. And always make an outline.”

In one semester, for just one class, Stefani Lopez ’13 discovered that she had four major writing papers – a reflective narrative, a literary analysis, a comparative analysis and a research paper. It was a lot more writing than she ever did in high school.

The class was Writing 101, a required course for all first-year students as part of PLU’s innovative First Year Experience Program. The program brings together first-year students in small-class settings where they can develop essential skills that will enable them to succeed at the university level – and beyond.

In the case of professor Skipper’s class, that meant a lot of reading, critical thinking, discussion – and writing. A lot of writing.

The class also featured peer-review groups where students would meet to discuss each other’s work. “That was intimidating,” said Lopez. “But that ability to read [other students’ rough drafts] and talk to them about it, made me look at my own work more critically.”

Skipper believes having a class of only first-year students helps build community, and with it, the space to explore ideas and grow intellectually.

“Collectively, they bring wonder, curiosity, fears, struggles and growth – all of which are very individual experiences,” said Skipper. “It’s invaluable that students have a safe place to relish these experiences, and understand they're not alone in having them. It’s humbling and rewarding to take part in this.”

To read about PSYC 113, click here.

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