How To Bring In A Group Project for the Writing Center in Six Easy Steps
Here at the writing center, we often find ourselves working with students who are the sole authors of their papers, short stories, and other works of writing. But that’s not by design; we are fully capable of helping students with group projects, and would love to help. Here’s how.
Step one: coordinate with your group. Figure out a collective time when you can all come to the writing center and work on your entire project. We at the Writing Center are only capable of helping any individual member with their own portion of the work. The ONLY time we can help the group on the whole project is if every member attends.
Step two: make an appointment. In the ‘What would you like to work on’ section, make a note that you and your group members (please name them!) will be bringing in your project.
Step three: arrive at the appointment and find a place for the tutor to help you. Depending on how many group members you have, any of the stations inside the Writing Center itself might be a bit too crowded, so feel free to ask the tutor to work with you outside in Hill Lobby.
Step four: work. Make sure each member works with the tutor on their own portion.
Step five: practice with the tutor present. If there’s enough time and it’s a group presentation, go ahead and practice as a group giving the presentation. It’s a good way to get feedback and smooth out any snags without the situation becoming direr.
Step six: profit. Ask the tutor to notify the professor that you all came. Give an awesome presentation or turn in a great paper, sit back and enjoy.
-Writing tutor Kaijaii
Creative Writing Outlets
Here at the Writing Center, we don’t just encourage you to bring us academic writing; we also ALWAYS encourage you to bring creative writing! While creative writing is all fun and dandy, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start, especially if you want your work to be seen by others.
Fear not, young grasshoppers! I have compiled a list of different creative writing outlets and opportunities that may interest you if you have a passion for (or just want to take a whack at) writing.
Image courtesy of amerinator.blogspot.com
This is a great place to start if you have a certain topic of interest. You can probably find a blog about anything if you search hard enough (like this one about dogs wearing hats). There are a ton of websites you can use to start a blog, but WordPress and Tumblr are among the most popular.
Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
WordPress is fairly easy to use. You simply go to the website and click “Create Blog.” Then, you will be asked to choose a template for your content. If you want more photos in your blog, you’ll want to pick a template that allows you to create albums. If you want to have a more writing-based blog, there are templates that highlight that as well. When I studied abroad in Budapest in Fall 2014, I kept a blog about my travels and random thoughts. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out as an example.
Tumblr is a bit different from WordPress. Users can post seven different types of content: text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, and video. In addition, users can follow each other to see other content, which is able to be “liked” or “reblogged” (which is Tumblr’s version of a retweet). Users are also able to title their blog and create a theme, much like WordPress. It can even link to Facebook and Twitter so friends on those social networks can see their Tumblr posts. Those are the basics, so here’s a more in-depth how-to for Tumblr.
Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
The cool thing about blogging is that sometimes you can actually make money from it! That’s right, people have made careers out of posting their content on the internet. That’s so 21st century, right? If you’re interested in that path, here’s a website that consists of blogs about freelance blogging (blog-ception oooOOOooo).
*Side note: check out this blog run by a McDaniel alum. She gets paid to make fun crafts or recipes with different products. How awesome is that?
In case you didn’t know, McDaniel has its own literary/art magazine called Contrast! Students are able to submit their creative works for publication, whether they are short stories, poems, photos, or other works of art. A committee reviews the submissions and votes on which ones should be published. If you are interested in more information, you can come to the Writing Center or contact Shannon McClellan (slm007) or Emma Richard (eir001).
Trouble getting started?
One of the most difficult stages in the writing process, regardless of the style, is getting started. Where do you find that inspiration to write the next great haiku? AdviceToWriters provides daily quotes to get your creative juices flowing. The site even has a post called The Best Writing Advice that compiles quotes from writers about advice given to them over the course of their careers.
If you’re interested in other creative outlets or writing opportunities, check out this list of 100 Best Websites for Writers.
Fall Application Deadlines: Sip your Pumpkin Spice and Relax!
It’s that time of year…
Pumpkin spice lattes, cozy knit sweaters, bonfires, and Halloween right around the corner.
But….it’s also scholarship/fellowship/grant application time! Though the Fulbright deadline was this past weekend, there are still other programs that are open. Maybe you have an application you’re working on, too!
If you’re a junior, then you may want to check into programs such as the Peace Corps, the Fulbright, and the Boren Award, as these are typically programs for after graduation. Check out the links at the end for more information about deadlines and what to prepare.
Over the past few months, I’ve settled on a research area and developed a proposal, finishing up this past weekend with all my final drafts. I’ve gone through probably a dozen twenty drafts of my statement of grant purpose and a generous handful of twelve drafts of my personal statement. I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learned that may help you in these types of required writing.
What’s the first thing you should do?
Read! Read all the information you can find about the scholarship, what you will be doing, and what you need to provide. You’d be surprised at how many times I had to read and re-read my Fulbright instructions to capture the multitude of requirements for each of the documents they need. Read carefully, take notes, and you’ll be in a great place to start writing.
Next, if you have all (or even most) of the information you need to start composing your writing, jump on in. Start with a rough draft, aiming really only for getting your ideas on paper–you will go through countless revisions and drafts and change so much that you’ll really want to try not to think that your first draft will be close to perfect.
Work on a lot of drafts, and ask your professors, if they’re writing recommendations, to review your documents with you. Come see us at the Writing Center, too! We’re here to help you through the entire writing process, even and especially for scholarship/fellowship/grant applications.
Continue working and revising until you are completely satisfied with what you’ve written. For me, it felt like the process of writing my personal statement and statement of grant purpose took significantly more time than my average paper to complete. Plan to have enough time to work on it in between classes, in the evenings, on the weekends–whenever you can take thirty minutes, an hour, or some amount of time to review and revise.
Which reminds me…
Make sure you check and double-check and triple-check your page lengths/word counts! The Fulbright requires a personal statement of one page and a statement of grant purpose under two pages. Likewise, the Boren Award has essay prompts that allow for 800 words or less. This is not a lot of space!
Like we say in the Writing Center, when you start your drafts of these documents, overwrite it first and edit out later.
Remember, when you get stuck trying to figure out how exactly to describe your passion or articulate why you want to study a certain language, you are always welcome in the Writing Center! Utilize the resources you have, ask a lot of questions, and finally:
Take a deep breath. Relax for a moment. It will all be okay! These applications and all the deadlines are all very stressful, so make sure you keep yourself healthy and do your best to keep your stress levels in check.
We have faith in you!
Happy fall and happy application writing!
Here are links to some of the awards and applications for more information:
Applications for internships, fellowships, and scholar programs often can feel intimidating Applications can feel arduous, extensive, and there is the chance that the long hours of dedication can seem futile. However, this is a detrimental way to look at applications and there are ways to help make the process less intimidating and more constructive. To complement the “Application Checklist” that many fellowships offer on their websites, here is my own checklist to follow before you begin your dream application:
1. Go to information sessions. McDaniel is offering an increasing number of presentations with tips on how to complete applications. If you look at campus announcements or notice the posters in academic buildings, there is at least one session a month dedicated to revising a cover letter or filling out an application on a specific fellowship (such as the Fulbright Program or the Critical Language Scholarship). In addition to taking advantage of these McDaniel opportunities, many major programs offer webinars with valuable advice. These webinars are free information sessions presented by the very same people who will be looking at your application- sign up for these! You can ask questions through the webinar and the presenters often give tips that are unique to their application. Research your scholarship/fellowship as much as possible!
2. Look for examples of successful applicants. Researching examples of successful essays or cover letters can help you take a first step in your application. Don’t plagiarize- this is wrong. However, it is interesting to look at the vast variety of essays and this might inspire you to find your essay topic. For example, when I had an annoying case of writer’s block, I read by friend’s essay about her trip to France and her memory of looking at the Eiffel Tower for the first time. This sparked my memory about my trip to Australia. My writer’s block was “unblocked” and I began to write my essay on my tete-a-tete with a random Australian on the street.
3. Think outside the box- While the most famous programs such as the Truman Scholars Program or the Rhodes Scholarships are phenomenal, they are also extremely selective and competitive. If your dream is to be a Rhodes Scholar, I will not discourage you from applying. However, make sure to look at other opportunities that are less well known; they might even be better suited for your major and interests. I pride myself in my professional Googling skills and I have spent hours on a peace and conflict professional forum finding links to fellowships with a focus in this particular field. However, if you do not want to spend this amount of time and energy invested in online research, ask your professors for ideas. In addition, at McDaniel, the wonderful CEO Office spoils us. If you visit the amazing staff at the CEO, you will find that they have already completed the research for you (there is even a comprehensive book with a list of fellowships complete with deadlines and instructions). Capitalize on these resources.
4. Visit the Writing Center! I might be a little biased, but the Writing Center is a fantastic place to visit for each step in the application process (and I hear the tutors are pretty cool). Whether you need help brainstorming essay topics or want one more pair of eyes to look over your final draft an hour before the application’s deadline, the Writing Center is always here for you. You may also want to politely ask professors, friends, and family look over your application in order to receive as much feedback as possible.
5. Do it for the experience. Think of the application process as an experience; don’t be negative! This is an opportunity to talk about your favorite class or discuss the volunteering event where you stapled papers for a non-profit organization and interacted with the president of the organization while reaching for a whole punch. The applications do not have to be boring and even have the potential to be enjoyable. Even if you have difficulty enjoying the application, think of it as a learning experience. If you do not receive the scholarship or fellowship, you have essays and the experience for future applications. And who knows, maybe the next time you apply, you might surprise yourself.
–Leanna, peer tutor
Scoring That Perfect Internship
Boat rides on the Chesapeake Bay, picnics out on a dock, wooden boats and crab picking demonstrations. Sound like a weekend trip out to the Eastern Shore of Maryland? Not quite, but when your summer internship is something that you love, it may as well be a vacation.
This summer, I worked for the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as a communications and marketing intern. I got to do things that I love, like use social media, take pictures and video with professional equipment, and write for the museum’s magazine, all while spending most of my time outside and on the water. I got to produce videos for the website and talk to interesting people, like this video about the cultural influences of crabbing and the people who grew up around the Chesapeake:
But aside from all of the fun stuff that I got to do, I really did learn a lot about working in the professional world. With my internship, I had the freedom to come up with my own ideas, make them a reality, and then present them to my boss in the hopes that she would like them and use them as publicity for the museum. Through this process, I learned a lot about my own work from the feedback that my boss would give me, so I could go back and make improvements to the project I was working on.
It is great to get in the habit of taking your work to someone for review because they always have fresh ideas about how to make it better. If I made a video, I would take it to my boss afterwards and show her what I had done, always expecting feedback and new ideas for making it even better.
At The Writing Center, we can help you get used to this process of writing and editing; we’ll work with you to improve your skills so you can make your own work even more awesome. Having a tutor look at your paper or assignment is (almost) just like the process you will encounter in the professional world– except meeting with us is probably a little more fun and less nerve-racking.
Along with helping you get acquainted with this process, The Writing Center can also help you perfect your resume or application for scoring that perfect internship. You can make an appointment with a tutor who will help you make sure that all of your accomplishments are presented well in a resume that future employers will see.
If you are interested in finding an awesome summer internship, the Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO) has resources to help you with that. You can check them out on www.facebook.com/McDaniel.CEO or follow them on Twitter @McDanielCEO.
So don’t forget to make your appointment at The Writing Center to help develop your professional skills and to talk about the cool internships you are applying for!